CROP solutions provider Fera is to provide an aphid monitoring programme in seed potatoes, with yellow water traps, for the 2022 season, after establishing a demand from existing customers and stakeholders.
The program, which was originally launched in 2004 using AHDB levy funding, will utilise the same reporting and alert platform as it has used in previous years.
Up to 10 samples will be analysed per trap site. The service will include provision of a trap and sample pots to return samples to FERA. Results will be published anonymously when permission is given so they can be mapped by the company.
The company will produce and disseminate weekly reports, along with and high virus and first findings of peach-potato aphid alerts by region, as it has been doing in 2021. Anyone not signed up for alerts can do so via the Fera website.
The peach-potato aphid acts as a vector for the transport of plant viruses such as potato virus Y (PVY) and potato leafroll virus which can be passed to potato crops. PVY infection of potato plants results in a variety of symptoms depending on the viral strain. The mildest of these symptoms is production loss, but the most detrimental is 'potato tuber necrotic ringspot disease' (PTNRD). Similarly, PLRV can be responsible for individual plant yield losses of over 50%.
The original service, which started in 2004, was supported with AHDB levy board funding. Since the decision to abolish the levy, following a growers' ballot earlier this year, Fera has been working with AHDB to coordinate a smooth transition into the forthcoming season.
Data from all the previous years will be available for comparison once a transfer agreement with AHDB has been signed. It will continue to use the same website, rebranded but with an acknowledgement to AHDB for the investment in setting it up and improving it over the previous years. The new service will be launched at British Potato on the 24th and 25th November 2021.
The cost for the service will be £500 (exc. VAT) per trap site per season, payable in advance prior to submitting the first sample.