A review of pest management in cereals and oilseed rape in the UK


Cereals & Oilseeds
Project code:
01 October 2012 - 31 May 2016
AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.
AHDB sector cost:
Project leader:
Alan M. Dewar1, Andrew Ferguson 2, Judith K. Pell 3, Caroline Nicholls4 and Jenna Watts4 1 Dewar Crop Protection Ltd, Drumlanrig, Great Saxham, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, IP29 5JR 2 Andrew Ferguson Science Consulting, 6 Heath Close, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 5SP 3 J.K. Pell Consulting, 74 Wardown Crescent, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU2 7JT 4 AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2TL



About this project

The importance of pests in UK cropping was comprehensively reviewed for AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds by Holland and Oakley (2007; RR64) in relation to natural enemies and changing farming practices. This was followed by RR73, which reviewed invertebrate pest thresholds and how they could be improved (Ellis et al., 2009) and three others, RR70, RR77 and RR79, which addressed the loss of specific insecticide active ingredients due to regulatory changes and the impact of this on pest management practice (Clark et al., 2009; Nicholls, 2013). This review builds on these previous targeted reviews to examine the changing pest management needs for individual pests of oilseed rape and cereals in response to changing pest status and crop husbandry.

The review looks at 25 species in detail to establish their continuing threats to arable farming in the UK and Europe, and to recommend where further research should be done.

Control of slugs in cereals and oilseeds is a key priority amongst growers and is still largely dependent on one chemical, metaldehyde, which was first discovered 75 years ago. In recent years however, with the increasing acreage devoted to oilseed rape, and restrictions imposed by water authorities on metaldehyde residues in run-off water, slug control has become a priority focus.

More frequent pests of cereals are: aphids causing both direct feeding damage and spreading barley yellow dwarf virus, orange wheat blossom midge and wheat bulb fly. Control of these vastly diverging pests requires different approaches but the old established methods of the past are no longer achievable due to changes in availability of insecticides following withdrawal after critical EU reviews, or to the development of resistance to insecticides.

Similar problems confound the control of important pests of oilseed rape – pollen beetles, cabbage stem flea beetles, brassica pod midge, rape winter stem weevil and peach–potato aphids spreading turnip yellows virus – especially following the ban on neonicotinoid seed treatments in 2013.

Control of pests of cereals and oilseed rape in the future is likely to require a much more integrated approach in view of the lack of new active ingredients coming through the development mill. This review draws on research conducted in the last 10–15 years to allow legislators and funders alike to identify strategies that might give better control in the future than current practices.