Arable Conversations 2nd July - 8pm Live Stream Plant Health Q and A

Arable Scotland


8pm Live Stream

Plant Health Q and A – the challenges and opportunities of implementing best practice, with contrasting New Zealand and UK experiences on new products, pesticides and sustainable practices. The similarities and contrasts in Scottish and New Zealand crop health issues will make an interesting panel discussion between Scottish experts with input from the NZ Foundation for Arable Research (FAR). They have advance experience of fungicides not available here, and are also used to managing without chlorothalonil.

If you want to watch the Webinar on catch up you can do so here:


Ian Toth (Plant Health Centre, James Hutton Institute)


Ian obtained his PhD from Warwick University in 1991 on potato blackleg disease, and has since worked on plant diseases in agriculture, forestry and horticulture, as well as with soil microbes and microbial biotechnology, the latter with Novo Nordisk in Denmark. He has been undertaking plant health research at the James Hutton Institute (formerly Scottish Crop Research Institute) in Dundee for over 20 years focusing his efforts on both strategic and applied research, bringing him into regular contact with Scottish Government, industry and the public to whom he regularly presents his work. Between 2011-16 he led the plant health work at the Institute, and is now their contact for the Scottish Government-funded Strategic Research Programme Theme 2 “Productive and sustainable Land Management and Rural Economies”. He is currently the Director of the Plant Health Centre.

Fiona Burnett (Plant Health Centre, SRUC)


Fiona Burnett is Sector lead for agriculture for the Plant Health Centre, Professor of Applied Plant Pathology and Head of the Crop and Soil Systems Research Group at SRUC. Fiona is a key translational crop scientist in the UK and a high profile independent influencer of crop protection practices. Analysis of crop protection decision-making problems are at the centre of her research interests and she has particular interests in Integrated Pest Management and pesticide stewardship. Fungicide resistance and efficacy are core activities for her research team. She chairs the Fungicide Resistance Action Group–UK, a group made up of independent researchers, agrochemical and industry representative, regulators and agronomists where emerging resistance issues are discussed and advice and recommendations issued. The steering groups and committees she contributes to are extensive and include the UK Plant Health Forum (Defra), the AHDB Oilseeds RL Committee and the British Crop Protection Council’s Diseases Working Group. She chairs the Association for Crop Protection in Northern Britain and she is a Director of Scottish Quality Farm Assured Cereals Ltd, Director of the Genomia Fund and is Chair of the Technical Advisory Committee for Scottish Quality Crops Ltd.

Andy Evans (SRUC)


Andy Evans’ research interests revolve around integrated pest management (IPM) in arable and horticultural crops. Development of pest management approaches for the control of insect, slug and nematode pests of crops encompasses a wide range of techniques and novel methods, and research he has been, and is currently involved in, utilises semiochemicals, visual attraction, trap cropping, biofumigation, biological control (including biopesticides), and induction of crop natural defences.

Andy’s research into the physiological responses of pests and their predators to semiochemicals (e.g. pheromones, host-plant attractants, repellents) and visual stimuli (e.g. colour) using techniques such as electroantennography, electroretinography, coupled with behavioural studies, aims to develop novel pest management strategies that can be incorporated with existing methods of crop protection.

Nematode pests of arable crops (particularly potatoes) are also of interest to Andy, and research is ongoing into developing damage thresholds and IPM programmes for their control.

Andy is am also involved in evaluating the impact of climate on the distribution of pests and disease, with modelling of the potential changes in distribution due to climate change.

Jo Drummond (FAR, NZ)


Jo Drummond is a Senior Field Research Officer at the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR), New Zealand. The Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) is an applied research organisation responsible to New Zealand arable growers. FAR is involved with funding of arable, maize research and technology transfer. FAR funds, or contributes funds to, research programmes, often in collaboration with government funded organisations or Universities. Involvement in specific research programmes is driven by the interests of the New Zealand growers. Levy funds are also used to secure additional Government funding through programmes such as the Sustainable Farming Fund. Research trial results are communicated through on-farm events, workshops, conferences, publications and the FAR website.

"Watch" this thread for further updated and a notification for when the Webinar is about to start.

Dr DAVID ELLERTON – Technical Development Director, Hutchinsons


Following his degree at King’s College, London, David completed his PhD in spring barley plant pathology at the James Hutton Institute in Scotland in 1980. He then joined ADAS for 4 years as a plant pathologist based in Cambridge before joining distributor ProCam in 1984 as Technical Director. During that time David developed a large personal farm agronomy client base of some 17000 acres. In August 2010 he joined Hutchinsons as Technical Development Director helping to co-ordinate the many technical services offered by the company, with a particular role in training young agronomists coming into the industry.

Currently he also sits on the policy committee of LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), the Fungicide Resistance Action Group (FRAG), the British Crop Production Council (BCPC), the BCPC Expert working group for diseases and the AHDB/Defra UK Cereal Pathogen Virulence Survey Steering Committee (UKCPVS).


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What plant health questions would be the most important to ask the panel? New innovations? Resistance management in practical terms? Easy wins in IPM?

LIVE - DEFRA SFI Janet Hughes “ask me anything” 19:00-20:00 20th September (Today)

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Hello, I’m Janet Hughes. I’m the Programme Director for the Future Farming and Countryside Programme in Defra – the programme that’s phasing out the Common Agricultural Policy and introducing new schemes and services for farmers.

Today (20 September) between 7pm-8pm, I and some of my colleagues will be answering your questions about our work including the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Farming in Protected Landscapes, and our test and trials.

We’ll try to answer at least 15 of your top voted questions, so please vote on the questions you’d most like me to answer.

You can read more about our Future Farming policy on our blog.

I’ve answered some of your questions previously: you can watch the videos on...