Farming talk: Industry united to tackle wireworm damage

Following an upward trend in wireworm damage in root vegetable and cereal crops throughout the UK, industry leaders have joined forces to co-fund a Fera-led R&D project to find an end-to-end solution for the sector.

Dr Larissa Collins, entomology R&D team leader at Fera Science Ltd
Dr Larissa Collins, entomology R&D team leader at Fera Science Ltd

Representatives from Syngenta, Frontier, G’s Fresh, Elveden Estate, Pearce Seeds, Inov3PT and Blackthorn Arable are collaborating on Enigma I to understand wireworm and its changing patterns of damage in greater detail.

It’s fantastic to launch our first Enigma project with the support of seven prominent agribusinesses, representing a range of crops and stages in the supply chain.

Over its three-year programme, Fera will undertake research that looks at further understanding the current wireworm species affecting crops and also the lifecycles of wireworm, with the aim of finding successful Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques capable of controlling the pest.

The Enigma I partners have all reported growing levels of wireworm damage affecting their respective sectors, hence their motivation for supporting research into the pest.

Wireworm infestation is reported to cause annual yield losses of up to 10 per cent, which includes damaged potatoes being downgraded to stock feed, salad potato crops being rejected by buyers and the useable yield of carrots being reduced.

Dr Larissa Collins is entomology R&D team leader at Fera Science Ltd

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