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HGCA Agronomists’ Conference: input management for 2014 and beyond

How to manage farm inputs to reduce costs and optimise yields is under discussion at the 2013 HGCA Agronomists’ Conference.

hgca ag conference

Agronomists take note of the latest developments from HGCA’s research programme at the 2012 HGCA Agronomists’ Conference

Taking place at Peterborough Arena on 10 December, the full-day technical conference includes the latest fungicide performance figures and several papers on resistance management.

Susannah Bolton, HGCA Head of Research and Knowledge Transfer, said: “Market and weather volatility mean that growers are increasingly looking at input costs. These are more amenable to control by growers and can help reduce the cost of production and increase marketable yields.”

The conference will feature a resistance management session, led by researchers at Rothamsted Research. It will look at how plant protection products (PPPs) can be best managed to counter the combined threats of reduction in availability of PPPs, as a result of changes in legislation, and resistance in pests, diseases and weeds.

Conference Chair, Clare Bend, who is a member of HGCA’s Research and Knowledge Transfer Committee and Head of Technology and Services at Agrii, said: “The ability of pests, diseases and weeds to overcome the activity of our dwindling crop protection chemistry and to challenge efficient crop production never fails to amaze me.

“It is entirely appropriate that the issue of increasing resistance features so strongly on the programme. This will help the UK’s agronomist force give UK farmers the best advice on how to cope with this persistent threat.”


The subject of restricted neonicotinoid insecticides has been highly topical throughout 2013. Steve Foster of Rothamsted Research will talk about resistance in aphids across the UK and how strategies will need to be adapted, especially to assist with the management of turnip yellows virus in oilseed rape sown in 2014, when crops are not protected by seed treatment.

The work, which involves AHDB’s sister divisions serving horticulture and potatoes, is helping to track the high level of resistance to pyrethroids and pirimicarb in peach–potato aphids.

The presentation will also include information on pymetrozine, which has recently been granted label approval for use against aphids in oilseed rape and has no known aphid resistance.

Delegates will also find out more about new work commissioned by HGCA to improve control of cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) without the use of neonicotinoids, including understanding the tolerance of oilseed rape seedlings to shot hole damage and resistance threats.


Azole and SDHI fungicides have demonstrated good activity against key targets in fungicide performance work and continue to play an important role in many disease control programmes.

Hans Cools of Rothamsted Research will look at resistance risks and the implications for management of field populations of Septoria. The latest knowledge on resistance of key cereal pathogen populations to SDHI-based fungicide products will be discussed.

The conference will also provide a first analysis of HGCA’s independent fungicide performance trials in wheat and barley by ADAS’ Jonathan Blake to complement data released in October for oilseed rape. The potential of varietal resistance and forecasting tools to moderate fungicide inputs in oilseed rape will also be the subject of a presentation by Bruce Fitt from the University of Hertfordshire.


Loss of herbicides under pesticide legislation has led to a greatly reduced choice across arable rotations, with many growers relying heavily on acetolactate synthase (ALS) products.

With no new modes of action on the horizon and with ALS-based herbicides being fragile from a resistance perspective, Stephen Moss from Rothamsted Research will take stock of the current situation in grass weed and broadleaved weed populations. Experience from the UK and the rest of the world will be drawn upon to help the industry manage and reduce resistance risks using chemical and cultural approaches.

Further input management papers

Ensuring crops receive the right level of phosphate will be the subject of a presentation by James Holmes of HGCA. The talk will explore trials work that is interpreting soil levels, improving fertilisers and application techniques.

HGCA’s Simon Oxley will present the latest data on how varieties, agronomy and weather inputs interact to influence grain quality.

The event will also feature the findings from an HGCA-funded desk study modelling the possible economic and environmental implications of both adoption and non-adoption of GM technologies in the UK, the launch of HGCA’s research consultation and an update on grain market prospects for the coming season.



Attendance costs £45 (including conference papers, lunch, refreshments and VAT).

BASIS and NRoSO points have been applied for.

For further information, or to book a place, visit, email or call 024 7647 8724.

The morning session will be live streamed over the internet and full videos of all presentations will be made available online shortly after the event.


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