An improved weather data tool has been developed to help blackcurrant growers predict the emergence of widespread pest gall mite.
The interactive tool uses information on the weather in more than 160 UK locations, helping growers to more accurately apply control measures.
Based on a ‘temperature sum’ approach, the tool predicts when gall mites will emerge from buds in spring, the best time to apply plant protection products.
The tool has grown from covering just six locations to around 160 and is now updated daily instead of weekly, meaning guidance should be more accurate than before.
Bastiaan Brak, research data analyst at AHDB, said: “The AHDB Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus management tool was received really well by arable farmers and agronomists last autumn and it's great to now offer a similar tool to blackcurrant growers.
“Similar decision support tools for horticulture are in development, demonstrating AHDB's commitment to integrated pest management.”
Growers are able to select their closest location on the map and use a graph to find out the best time to apply their first and second sprays.
AHDB stressed that forecasting is an important element of integrated pest management as it can reduce the number of sprays required, saving cost, reducing resistance build up and reducing environmental impact.
The body advised that guidance on the exact timing and the choice of control products should be supported by a BASIS-qualified fruit consultant.