Prof Fiona Burnett introduces the Plant Health Centre at Cereals in Practice

The Plant Health Centre and plant health matters got a good airing at the Cereals in Practice event at Saphock Farm in Aberdeenshire - held on the 5th July, with 128 attendees plus a strong complement of supporting staff from JHI and SRUC.

The farm sits in a beautiful area just north east of Bennachie. Crops in the area and at the trial site, like many in Scotland this summer, are stressed and very short in the prolonged dry conditions. Disease levels in cereals this year are typically low although mildew has been problematic and loose smut in barley were raised as concerns by people attending.

There was a lot of interest in the more disease resistant varieties on display where savings in fungicide programmes might have been possible. This led to very useful discussions on the need to be able to predict disease risk better as many crops this year have had relatively expensive fungicide inputs despite the lower disease pressure.  

As at other PHC outings growers raised concerns over the product losses through legislation and resistance development.

Integrated management methods generated a lot of interest with low input programmes on variety blends and where alternatives to fungicides such as elicitors had been used being particular discussion points.