Traditionally, farmers have bred their crops so that, in several generations, they have a variety that has a high yield or a particular taste or texture. These days, many farmers don’t breed their own crops but buy varieties that have been specially developed to perform well. However, it turns out that sometimes it is best to rediscover old varieties that naturally already have desirable traits.
Researchers at the Swiss research centre, Agroscope, were commissioned by the Fructus Association to look at the properties of apple varieties that are no longer widely grown. This is part of the NAP-PGREL project, which aims to record the properties of approximately 300 fruit varieties a year and make this information available to fruit growers. Continue reading →
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 Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV) in Croatia, mites associated with soybean in Brazil, and the first report of Tomato chlorotic spot virus in the USA.
A research team led by the Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences have produced the complete genomic sequence of watermelon (Citrullus lanatus). It is hoped that the genomic data from this study will shape future research into watermelon genetics and provide a good resource for crop genetics and future plant breeding projects, resulting in improved watermelon cultivars with a greater degree of pest resistance.
Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including using mites to control citrus pests, an update on counties affected by Ash dieback and the recovery plan for Cuban banana crops hit by Sandy.
Trinidad and Tobago Country Coordinator Shamela Rambadan sent the photo below of a Soursop (Annona muricata) plant brought into a clinic in County Victoria in Trinidad and Tobago by farmer Ramesh Ramnanan last month. The symptoms described included yellowed, distorted leaves and visible insects on the leaves, as seen in the photo. Plant health officer Zobida Mohammed diagnosed the symptoms to be caused by mealybugs and scale insects and recommended that the farmer used a suitable insecticide on the crop to avoid further damage.
Module 1 of the How to be a Plant Doctor has recently taken place at the Makerere University Agricultural research institute. The training over 3 days (12th –14th Nov) was opened by Dr Robert Karyeija, the assistant commissioner for crop protection, and was led by CABI trainers Phil Taylor from CABI UK and Joseph Mulema CABI Africa. The training was in association with Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF). The trainees were from 8 districts that already have Plant Clinics (but are intending to increase the number) and an additional 6 districts that are intending to start clinics shortly Iganga,Luwero,Kabarole, Mityana, Wakiso and Kibale. Morris Akiri the Regional Director of CABI Africa closed the training. Continue reading →