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Interdisciplinary approaches to tackle Fusarium in onions

A groundbreaking research project has been launched to combat the devastating pre- and post-harvest losses caused by Fusarium Basal Rot (FBR).

FBR represents a significant threat to the UK onion industry, with losses reaching 40% and costing the industry over £10M per year. FBR is driving onion growers out of business and, with climate change exacerbating the issue, innovative solutions are urgently needed.

A 24-Month project funded through Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme and delivered by Innovate UK seeks to transform the management of FBR through a comprehensive strategy. By integrating state-of-the-art molecular diagnostics, agronomic expertise, and sensor technology, this £1M project aims to equip UK onion producers with resources to effectively address the threat of FBR throughout the cultivation cycle. 

The consortium is led by R&D company B-Hive Innovations Ltd, in collaboration with The University of Warwick, RSK-ADAS, CHAP (one of the Agri-Tech Centres), VCS Agronomy and AB Centre. The project is further supported by G’s Growers, Moulton Bulb Company, Stourgarden, Bedfordshire Growers and the British Onion Producers Association. 

The project has ambitious goals to reduce FBR prevalence by 50%, representing a large saving in annual losses and improving the industries sustainability over the long-term. 

Dr Alex McCormack, Innovation Sector Lead in Agronomy said, “This is a great project to showcase how multiple technologies can be utilised to develop an IPM approach to FBR from pre-planting through to post-harvest. I look forward to delivering this project alongside CHAP’s staff and delivery partners at the Digital Phenotyping Facility and Crop Storage and Post Harvest Solution. 

Together, we will help to tackle some of the questions around how technologies such as imaging and novel sensors can be used to detect disease as early as possible. Alongside this, we will look at how to combine and apply these technologies to inform grower interventions and management practices.”  

For more information, read the full project press release on the British Onion Producer Association (BOPA) website. 

 

For more information, contact CHAP at enquiries@chap-solutions.co.uk or visit www.chap-solutions.co.uk