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Latest arable pest management  tool unveiled

The latest version of a free Integrated Pest Management (IPM) tool includes a new benchmarking feature so users can compare control strategies.

In a season of early pest, disease and weed pressures, more than 880 farmers, agronomists and advisors have used the free IPM Tool to create over 1200 bespoke IPM cropping plans.

The latest update includes a benchmarking functionality for users to view real-time crop risks and information – locally and nationally – and compare their IPM actions and practices with other growers.

The new function will enable growers and their advisors to understand important trends for risks affecting their particular crop at any given time. It can also help inform IPM planning decisions for the upcoming season.

Benchmarking data is dynamically updated as IPM cropping plans are completed so users always have access to the latest information, says ADAS consultant John Gadsby, who led the development of the tool.

“The ability to see how other farmers are approaching IPM interventions will give users a chance to learn from all those who have completed an IPM plan, and ultimately provide a means for peer-to-peer learning with an ever-expanding pool of farmers.”

‘Really useful’

ADAS project coordinator Philip Walker said: “The latest update shows we have considered that a real time functionality is a useful addition and allows users to make up to date decisions for practicing IPM.”

The IPM Planning Tool is proving to be a useful and popular support for farmers and agronomists.

Among the users who have been impressed are mixed farmer Thomas Clayton, who runs a range of arable, root crop and livestock enterprises in west Suffolk.

“The IPM Tool has been really useful for us managing crops across such a diverse rotation,” he says.

“It allows us to see we are on the right track for IPM during the season and gives us the opportunity to adapt our approach for the year head.”

BASIS crop protection and environmental advisor points are available for completing the tool. For full details and to download the IPM Tool, visit www.ipmtool.net.

App offers accuracy for crop treatments

An upgraded weather app is helping growers improve the timing of crop protection treatments – ensuring they are safe and effective.

Released by Sencrop, the new weather app module helps users select and apply the most appropriate fungicides, insecticides, or bio-solutions. It then provides specific recommendations for each product.

A four-day local weather forecast is used to identify the best treatment time amdmake a pinpoint application – taking into account wind speed, humidity, temperature and rainfall.

Users can view their fields and crops, and select the area of interest, says Sencrop. They then choose the type of product they want to apply, and the app will generate hourly weather forecasts for the next four days.

Mark Herriman, of Sencrop, said: “When it comes to forecasts, we compare the data collected by the station with the main existing weather models and then aggregate the most reliable forecasts for the chosen location.”

The forecasts continuously evolve as the station records local weather data, explains Mr Herriman.

This ensures the best forecasts at all times,, he adds – helping growers and agronomists to make better decisions.

“It’s difficult for farmers to take into account so many meteorological parameters – but applying products at exactly the right time will improve efficiencies, reduce waste and benefit the crop, ultimately boosting the bottom line.”