WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE?
Aphids are important pest insects in many cropping systems and attempts to control them often lead to extensive use of insecticides. This means that large areas of the cultivated landscape are at risk from significant environmental degradation. Pesticides pose further risks, such as handling and management of wastes.
HOW CAN THE PROGRAMME CONTRIBUTE TO A SOLUTION?
Our goal is to develop more sustainable methods of aphid control based on the combination of new cropping systems, new cultivars with multi-gene resistance, induced resistance and more efficient use of natural enemies. With new knowledge on plant-plant signalling, we aim to reduce the establishment of aphids in the crop, and support searching by the aphids´ natural enemies. The program is focussed on spring barley, a dominant crop in Swedish agriculture, and its major pest the bird cherry-oat aphid (Rhopalosiphum padi).
WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THE RESULTS?
A reduction in the use of chemicals tops the wish list of many farmers, companies, authorities and the general public. Practitioners can be inspired by a new way of thinking in cropping. Plant breeding companies will gain a basis for new breeding strategies and cultivars. Niche companies within plant protection can use the results to develop new products based on ‘green” chemicals´. In a longer-term perspective, knowledge about plant-plant signalling can be of interest for landscape management and environmental protection.