Update: New Pest & Disease Records (16 Apr 14)

The fungus M. fructicola that causes these symptoms on peach has been found in Croatia © Molly Giesbrecht, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service (CC BY-NC)

The fungus that causes these symptoms on peach has been found in Croatia © Molly Giesbrecht, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service (CC BY-NC)

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include the first report of Fomitiporia maxonii causing citrus wood rot in commercial orange and grapefruit groves in Cuba, the first report of Daldinia concentrica on Ficus benjamia from India, and Monilinia species identified on peach and nectarine in Croatia, with the first record of Monilinia fructicola.

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Update: Plant Health News (09 Apr 14)

Nematodes are difficult to control but a new banana variety might be the answer to avoiding attack © Michael McClure, University of Arizona (CC BY-NC)

Nematodes are difficult to control but a new banana variety might help avoid crop loss © M. McClure, University of Arizona (CC BY-NC)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the banana plants that can fight off nematodes, the effect of pesticides on earthworms and training for farmers in Gambia on rice crop husbandry.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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Factsheet of the month: April – Wheat stem rust

wheat stem rustLast week, the Borlaug Summit on Wheat for Food Security took place in Mexico, bringing together thought leaders, policymakers, and leading agricultural research-for-development organizations to discuss the role of wheat in the future of food security. Wheat is an extremely important crop that provides around 20% of the world’s calories but this staple crop is threatened in some areas by a fungal disease called stem rust.

To find out about the symptoms and management of wheat stem rust, please click the Wheat stem rust factsheet which was produced in Rwanda (also available in Kinyarwandan).

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (02 Apr 14)

Anthracnose on dragon fruit can be caused by different Colletotrichum species  © Yuan-Min Shen, Taichung DARES

Anthracnose on dragon fruit can be caused by different Colletotrichum species © Yuan-Min Shen, Taichung DARES (CC BY-NC)

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include records of plant parasitic nematodes on cassava cultivated in the Brazilian Amazon, the first record of dragon fruit anthracnose caused by Colletotrichum truncatum in China and a new threat to potato production in Serbia.

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Update: Plant Health News (26 Mar 14)

The Plant Protection Code aims to ensure sustainable tea production in India © oldandsolo via Flickr (CC BY)

The PPC aims to ensure sustainable tea production in India © oldandsolo (CC BY)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including research into the benefits of cover crops, the release of the 2013 Global Food Policy Report and the launch of the Plant Protection Code for India’s tea industry.

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Pests of the forest are spreading

Mountain pine beetle infested forest

Mountain pine beetle infested forest in BC, Canada © Simon Fraser University Public Affairs and Media Relations (CC BY 2.0 license)

Much is covered in the news about deforestation by humans, but less is widely known about the damage done to forests by pests and diseases. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) produces an assessment of the world’s forest resources every five years. Their last report highlighted the effect that climate change will have on forests and their pests.

“A changing climate will alter the disturbance dynamics of native forest insect
pests and pathogens, as well as facilitating the establishment and spread of introduced
pest species.”

There have already been incidences of pests spreading due to abnormally high winter temperatures. For example, the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae, has been expanding its range in North America for the past fifteen years. Where it was once a pest of the southern Rocky Mountains and west of the American Continental Divide, it is now moving north and east where winters are becoming milder.

When trees suffer climate induced stress from increased drought and extreme climatic events such as storms, they become more susceptible to damage from pests. Also, a pest that establishes in a new territory doesn’t always have the natural enemies present to keep its population numbers in check, providing opportunities for severe outbreaks.

The increased connectivity between countries has facilitated the global spread of forest pests.

“The volume, speed and variety of global trade have increased the opportunities for
pests to move internationally.”

Phytosanitary measures at borders are important now more than ever, to ensure that movement of pests within shipments is limited wherever possible.

There is little information on the global distribution of forests pests, particularly in developing countries. This data is necessary to perform pest risk analyses and provide early warning systems for countries. With a changing climate, it is vital that countries work together to monitor and protect against these pests.

Find out more about forests for International Day of Forests: http://www.fao.org/forestry/international-day-of-forests/en/

FAO (2010) Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010. FAO Forestry Paper 163.

Update: New Pest & Disease Records (20 Mar 14)

Sclerotium rolfsii, causing leaf chlorosis, and root and collar rot of apple has been found in Tunisia © University of Georgia

Sclerotium rolfsii, causing leaf chlorosis, and root and collar rot of apple has been found in Tunisia © University of Georgia

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include the first report of a ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma Ziziphi’- related strain associated with peach decline disease in India, molecular and morphological characterisation of Scutellonema bradys from yam in Costa Rica and the first report of apple collar rot incited by Sclerotium rolfsii in Tunisia.

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Tackling food insecurity with mobile technologies

It is important for farmers in developing countries  to have access to the best agricultural information available to prevent crop losses and boost food security and wider livelihoods. Under the Plantwise programme, CABI helps local governments and extension workers set up plant clinics where farmers can come for unbiased and practical agricultural advice helping them to “lose less and feed more”. Farmers come with their crops and the trained plant doctors diagnose plant pest and disease problems and give them tailored recommendations. These clinics have a range of hard copy resources to help the plant doctors make diagnoses and recommendations. Data on the problems are also collected via paper prescription forms- the analysis of these data could allow countries to map the spread of pests and diseases and feed back critical advice. This model has been working well for a number of years but as technologies have evolved they are opening up new opportunities for getting even more resources to farmers and ensuring data is collected and fed back even more quickly potentially making it far more useful.

In response to the new opportunities Plantwise are introducing mobile technologies (tablet computers and SMS messaging) into clinics through a number of pilots. These pilots will test how and in what ways mobile technologies might place plant doctors in the best possible  position to help farmers prevent crop losses and boost food security.

Mobile training workshop: teaching plant doctors to use tablets, the Factsheet app and how to fill in 'e-rescription forms'.

Mobile training workshop: teaching plant doctors to use tablets, the Factsheet app and how to fill in ‘e-rescription forms’.

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Update: Plant Health News (12 Mar 14)

Brown marmorated stink bugs are a major pest © David R. Lance, USDA APHIS PPQ (CC BY)

Brown marmorated stink bugs are a major pest © David R. Lance, USDA APHIS PPQ (CC BY)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the use of Stink Bug saliva in pest control, FAO’s article on empowering women in agriculture and new research into the delayed resistance of pests to Bt crops.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (06 Mar 14)

Black rot of sugarcane, caused by Ceratocystis paradoxa, but C. adiposa has also been found to be responsible (Courtesy EcoPort: Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations, Queensland)

Black rot of sugarcane (Courtesy EcoPort: Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations, Queensland)

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include the first report of Fusarium maize ear rot caused by Fusarium kyushuense in China, the first report of Tobacco streak virus infecting pigeon pea in India and the identification of the pathogen causing black rot in sugarcane.

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