LEAF and AHDB exchange knowledge on IPM

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

As the new normal of integrating a broad range of strategies into crop health and protection routines really gets going, LEAF brings to the table the experience of farmers who have been trading on IPM as an integral part of IFM for years, and in many cases decades. The research and resources provided by AHDB continue to support LEAF farmers in continuous improvement and implementation of evolving best practice across the wide range of farm sizes and sectors that they represent.

Just a few examples of where the LEAF Demonstration Farm (LDF) Network value the input from AHDB can be found in the LEAF video library. Under the remit of Prevent, our newest LDF, agronomist James Loder Symonds of Nonington Farms in Kent talks about combining variety selection using the AHDB Recommended Lists with cultural strategies and precision nutrition supported by RB209 for healthy establishment and disease prevention in cereals and oilseeds at our IPM in Arable Virtual Field Day last summer.

Looking towards the Detect aspect of IPM, Dawn Teverson shares insights from the AHDB Pest Bulletin at our IPM in Field Veg Virtual Field Day, alongside LEAF Marque growers Riviera Produce in Cornwall and LDF Simon Day in Suffolk. The value of this provision to growers I speak to across the LEAF Network is widely acknowledged, sometimes described as ‘having another pair of eyes in the team’.

Control comes in many guises, and some of the biological options that have been pioneered successfully in protected horticulture are championed by  LDF Mark Knight of Tangmere Nurseries, West Sussex. His experience acts as a case study in the latest addition to our Simply Sustainable series, Simply Sustainable IPM which signposts to AHDB guidance including the AHDB Encyclopedia of Pests & Natural Enemies, and decision support tools such as the BYDV management tool.

Evaluation of crop health and protection strategies is a key control point of audit for LEAF Marque Certification, where an annually reviewed Crop Health and protection Plan that references all areas of IPM is mandatory. There is no one template for this, above all looking to utilise existing supply chain requirements and avoid burdensome duplication of paperwork, but the newly developed benchmarkable Voluntary Initiative IPM Plan is a great solution for many LEAF Marque certified businesses.

Overall, the growing importance of diversity in approach to crop health is reflected in the range of resources that farmers and growers are turning to. With 45% of UK fruit and veg being grown by LEAF Marque certified businesses, of which 45% are carrying out best practice in all areas of IPM (LEAF Global Impacts Report 2021), there is an ongoing imperative to work together to inform and support continuous improvement, application and uptake of IPM in this exciting new era. As part of the Horizon2020 IPMWorks project, LEAF is one of 31 partners across 16 European countries working with new and existing networks, including the AHDB Monitor Farms, to demonstrate that IPM indeed works.

For more info on LEAF’s work in this area, crossovers with AHDB initiatives or details of LEAF Marque Assurance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Lucy Bates, Technical Manager, LEAF