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Tackling pests and disease in an environment that’s anything but uniform

April 23, 2019

Readers of this month’s edition of The Grower, the technical journal for horticulture published by the AHDB might recognise a familiar image: the pointed microclimate sensor from 30MHz. In a contributed article, Ant Surrage, Technical Development Specialist at Fargro, goes in depth on the importance of quality data when crafting an integrated pest management (IPM) programme.

Growers, consultants and researchers in the 30MHz community have been demonstrating the impact of data-driven IPM, and we’re excited to see our technology be a part of their fight against pest and disease. Ant’s article highlights the key reasons why real-time insights are central to protecting crops from threats. At the core is a reminder to agribusinesses to never underestimate the variations in their environment.

“Growers must recognise that it is likely their environment is not uniform. Hotspots, areas of high humidity and areas of damp will be key areas for pest and disease establishment. This should inform monitoring and preventative programmes, which will have knock-on effects on other elements of an integrated pest management (IPM) programme.”

A combination of metrics on environment and crop-level insights (including dew point, vapour pressure deficit/VPD, absolute humidity/AH, humidity deficit and the absolute difference between air temperature and dewpoint) are all viewable within the ZENSIE platform, and provide the detailed overview needed to fight the range of insects, fungi and diseases that can compromise crop development.

“For even greater detail, growers can monitor and understand the microclimate. The microclimate refers to the environment around a plant, this is often significantly different to the environment we feel when walking through the crop. It is necessary to understand the microclimate.”

Real-time and historical data on environment and microclimate can help agribusinesses identify the conditions that lead to disease development, and optimise the conditions for biopesticide effectivity– a win-win that conserves crops as well as resources.

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