There was a major focus on growing cereals without neonicotinoids at the "Cereals" event in the UK last week and it is clear that farmers and the industry are very concerned about the risk of the yellow dwarf barley virus (BYDV) to their crops.
At the Syngenta booth, the company has focused on some cultural control methods that can help reduce BYDV's pressure on crops.
Planning is the first step in controlling the virus, and as farmers look at the winter crop, field selection and variety should be a key part of that plan.
Farmers must first assess which crop to grow. Some fields may be more suited to winter wheat than winter barley, for example. Getting the crops to the right start is essential.
It is then important to look for a BYDV tolerant variety. The choice of BYDV tolerance over high throughput characteristics may work better in the long term.
Removing the Green Bridge
Another step sometimes used in reducing BYDV is the removal of the green bridge. Volunteer control can reduce the level of transmission pests. It effectively takes away the habitat from the aphids.
Drilling at the end of the season can reduce the threat of BYDV on plantations in the fall and can also reduce the number of apicidal treatments that the crop will receive, since the cold may have reduced the levels of aphids.
Achieving the right balance is difficult as it is also important to drill at a time when conditions are best to ensure rapid establishment and a healthy plant.
Application of insecticides
The last factor in the list is the application of insecticides. As part of a good integrated pest management strategy, this should be the final measure used to reduce BYDV. Spraying should be performed "with the best product at the right time" where it needs to be done.
Water volume, feed rate and nozzle choice will affect spray coverage and should be considered carefully.