Assessing the threat of sclerotinia
24 Aug 2017
For the last few years, ADAS and BASF have been running a sclerotinia monitoring project to provide timely disease warning and advice.
Clare Tucker from BASF states, “At our sites, we monitor a number of factors that may increase the risk of Sclerotinia infection, namely airborne spore levels, weather conditions and sclerotial germination. At the start of spring, infection of plants by Sclerotinia spores becomes much more likely, as the average night-time temperature surpasses 7°C and humidity in the crop causes petal stick.
“By staying on top of these contributors, we can notify farmers whose crops may be at risk and thus, help them act in time before the disease manifests itself.”
How we monitor Sclerotinia
Ms Tucker explains, “There are two methods we use to monitor Sclerotinia infection risk:
- Sclerotia germination – We have sites set up around the UK, where we measure the germination of sclerotia. When a high number of sclerotia are seen to be germinating in a particular region, we are able to inform growers and advisors that the risk of infection is high in that region.
- Petal testing – Weekly petal tests which test for Sclerotinia spores are conducted for six weeks at all monitoring sites. A value of over 20% means potential risk for the crop, which is immediately communicated to farmers and advisors who have asked to receive these disease warnings.”