Research shows that GM potatoes have reduced impact on the environment
A trial carried out in Ireland and The Netherlands by Teagasc and Wageningen University has found a number of positives to planting GM potato varieties.

Teagasc have concluded their field study which investigated both the environmental and agronomic impact of a GM potato variety genetically engineered to resist late blight disease, caused by phytophthora infestans.

Teagasc research indicates that combining a cisgenic blight resistant potato with advanced integrated management systems can reduce the environmental impact of potato production by over 95%.

As part of the EU funded ‘AMIGA’ project, and in collaboration with Wageningen University, Teagasc looked at issues such as the efficacy of disease control and the resulting environmental impact during cultivation of a susceptible potato variety and two different resistant potato varieties.

The research, conducted in both The Netherlands and Ireland, has concluded that integrated production strategies that include varieties with enhanced genetic resistance against late blight disease can reduce the average fungicide input by 80-90%, without compromising control efficacy or yield.

This can provide more durable control options for farmers while significantly reducing the crop’s environmental footprint.

Field evaluations

After undergoing independent peer-review, the findings from three years of field evaluations have been published in the scientific journals European Journal of Agronomy and BMC Ecology.

The international team developed an IPM2.0 approach, which includes late blight resistant varieties and builds on the preventive principles of integrated pest management. IPM2.0 could permit growers to strongly reduce the necessary input of chemical control agents.

It also ensures a yield equivalent to current levels, protects the limited natural germplasm used to create the resistant varieties and significantly reduces the environmental impact of potato cultivation as a whole.

The IPM2.0 approach adds three extra components to the current control strategy for potato late blight: the use of resistant varieties, active monitoring of the late blight pathogen and a ‘do not spray unless’ strategy, which dictates that a grower only needs to apply fungicides when a resistant variety is at risk of infection due to pathogen adaptation. This strategy ensures potato crops are protected at all times while minimising the risk that resistance genes lose their efficacy.

Additional environmental investigations examined populations of soil nematodes, which play a key role in soil processes with alterations in the nematode community structure having the potential to considerably influence ecosystem functioning. In effect, fluctuations in nematode diversity and/or community structure can be gauged as a barometer of a soil’s functional biodiversity.

In parallel to the active research programme, project staff completed over 95 Knowledge Transfer events across the country in support of the public discussion on the challenges facing future potato production and the costs/benefits of potential solutions.

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Massive planting progress, but pockets of problems

80% of potatoes yet to be planted

$2.4bn growth expected in biopesticides market by 2024
In a recent report, the emerging market is expected to grow significantly by the year 2024.

The importance of biopesticides in crop production is set to increase substantially in the near future.

Biopesticides are defined as certain types of pesticides which are derived from such natural materials as animals, plants, bacteria, and certain minerals.

Facilitate growth

With increasing pressure coming on conventional crop production in areas such as Europe and the US and with impending restriction in key actives such as glyphosate, this is expected to facilitate the growth of biopesticides.

In a report from Global Market Insights, it details how the value of the biopesticides market is expect to reach $2.4bn by 2024.

The low R&D expenses and ease of registration, along with government subsidies, will also encourage industry growth

The report states that rising pests and insects attack levels due to continuous climatic changes coupled with increasing demand for organic pest control will also be key drivers of the industry growth.

Furthermore, the low R&D expenses and ease of registration, along with government subsidies, will also encourage industry growth over the forecast period.

Biopesticide market at a glance

In 2016, the US biopesticides market generated over $550m.

Foliar sprays dominate the industry, accounting for more than 75% of the overall demand in 2016.

In that year, seed treatment applications were valued at over $130m.

Fruits and vegetables accounted for over 70% of the industry share in 2016, with rising awareness regarding nutritional values of food and healthy diet supporting the product penetration in this segment, the report says.

The report outlines how government, as well as institutional initiatives and promotions for product usage, will positively influence the product demand in this region.

Read more

Key pesticide actives up for renewal but good news on the horizon

Support for Irish grain needed

Machinery in focus at AHDB monitor farm meeting in Downpatrick
A meeting was held in Downpatrick today focusing on machinery costs on Northern Ireland’s first AHDB monitor farm.

A meeting was held today in Downpatrick, Co Down, on the farm of Richard Orr focusing on machinery costs. Richard has been reviewing all aspects of his machinery outfit on his 75ha tillage farm.

“In doing the process of the review, I learnt as much as I did coming out of the far end, which was very interesting,” Richard explains.

In a preview of the meeting, Richard said that based on his review, some recommendations include getting rid of his sprayer as he was deemed to be over-mechanised.

However, his response was that this is necessary as due to the weather windows he contends with, in some cases he has to be over-mechanised to allow him to get the work done.

He concludes by saying that it is important to be able to justify machinery for your business and your farm needs and also to see how it affects your bottom line and whether it is a sensible investment.

See this week’s Irish Farmers Journal for a full report from the meeting.

Northern Ireland's fist AHDB monitor farm

Richard Orr is Northern Ireland’s first AHDB monitor farmer. He grows winter wheat and spring and winter barley on 185ac as well as potatoes, turnips and grass. His soil is predominately dry, free-draining medium, stony loam with good organic matter. Richard is in year two of the AHDB programme and there have already been multiple events on his farm.

Read more

Lowest US winter wheat area since 1909

AHDB launches first NI arable monitor farm

$2.5bn growth expected in biopesticides market by 2024
In a recent report, the emerging market is expected to grow significantly by the year 2024.

The importance of biopesticides in crop production is set to increase substantially in the near future. Biopesticides are defined as certain types of pesticides which are derived from such natural materials as animals, plants, bacteria, and certain minerals.

With increasing pressure coming on conventional crop production in areas such as Europe and the US, and with impending bands/restriction in key actives such as glyphosate, this is expected to facilitate the growth of biopesticides.

In a report from Global Market Insights, they detail how the value of the biopesticides market is expect to reach $2.4 billion by 2024.

The report states that rising pests and insects attack levels due to continuous climatic changes coupled with increasing demand for organic pest control will also be key drivers of the industry growth.

Furthermore, the low R&D expenses, ease of registration, along with government subsidies will also encourage industry growth over the forecast period.

Bio pesticide market at a glance

In 2016, the US biopesticides market generated over $550 million. Foliar sprays dominated the industry accounting for more than 75% of the overall demand in 2016.

In that year, seed treatment applications were valued over $130 million. Fruits and vegetables accounted for over 70% of the industry share in 2016 with rising awareness regarding nutritional values of food and healthy diet supporting the product penetration in this segment, the report says.

The report outlines how government as well as institutional initiatives and promotions for product usage will positively influence the product demand in this region.

Read more

Support for Irish grain needed