Rothamsted Research

where knowledge grows

We aim to improve existing biennial and perennial margin options to deliver effective biological control of crop pests of the whole arable crop rotation through: extending the season over which resources are available, improving movement from margins into the crop and further understanding trophic interactions in plant and invertebrate communities that favour pest suppression.

O1.4: Changes in the resource value of perennial margins over time

Successional changes in the plant composition of field margins alters their value as a resource for wildlife and this may also have an impact on the natural enemies utilising them....

O1.2: Extending the flowering period of margins

It is possible that the flowering period of field margins is influenced by when they are sown and that the provision of resources for natural enemies could be extended through planting margins in both autumn and spring....

Project overview

The options available to arable farmers to combat pest insects and prevent associated yield losses are in decline.....

Project partners and useful links

This project will be undertaken by scientists in the Department of AgroEcology at Rothamsted Research and in collaboration numerous partners....

O3: Modelling of enemy interaction data

Interactions occur between natural enemies of a pest and may affect pest population regulation, with positive and neutral interactions resulting in greater pest suppression and negative interactions resulting in reduced pest suppression....

O2: Encouraging movement of natural enemies

For biological control to be effective, natural enemies must move between margins and the crop, however, they may not readily move if the resources in the margin are so attractive that they have no reason to leave....

O1.3: Designing margins to provide early and late season resources

Many plants in field margins flower during May and June and provide limited resources (pollen/nectar) for natural enemies during early spring and late summer, both times at which these resources are an essential requirement....

O1.1 Utilising stored vortis samples to identify pests and their natural enemies

Vortis sampling offers a wealth of information on the abundance and diversity of arthropod pests and their natural enemies in arable cropping systems....