Farmers wanted for battle against CSFB

Farmers wanted for battle against CSFB

A project to develop a biopesticide for Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle is looking to recruit farmers to help shape the eventual outcomes.

Funded by a grant from Innovate UK[1], Agri-Tech centre Crop Health and Protection (CHAP) is working in collaboration with CAB International (CABI) and Russell Bio Solutions Ltd, along with input from H&T Bioseed, to provide farmers with a much-needed alternative to the now banned neonic insecticides[2] for cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB), especially in the light of increasing resistance to Pyrethroids[3].

Oilseed rape (OSR) has for many years been the third largest arable crop in the UK, after wheat and barley. However, in 2019 the amount of OSR grown in the UK fell to 1,752,000 tonnes, down 12.9% from the 2,012,000 tonnes grown in 2018. This was the lowest yield in 5 years, due in part to the increasing prevalence of CSFB [4]. The estimated cost of CSFB to growers in 2019 was £79M. With limited management tools left to control CSFB there is a market opportunity to develop a biopesticide.

The work to develop different formulations of a fungal biopesticide (identified in work already done by CHAP and CABI) to target CSFB in OSR at different stages of development kicks off today. Following on from this initial work, efforts will then progress into developing the scale up process.

The focus on end-user engagement will run alongside this development work and will involve two knowledge transfer workshops. The first will focus on the aim and objectives of the project, while the second will cover dissemination of results and technology adoption.

In addition, end-user feedback will be gathered using a market survey to ensure the project is aligned to end-user needs.

Dr Jenna Ross, International Business Development Manager at CHAP said, “CSFB damage is a massive challenge for OSR growers. This project is extremely timely and brings together leading scientists, innovators and businesses to develop a much-needed solution for the sector. And our focus on end-user farmer engagement is key for market adoption. We at CHAP are thrilled to be leading this project that aims to meet the OSR market demand and increase crop productivity while achieving net zero emissions and wider environmental and societal benefits.”

Dr Belinda Luke, Principal Scientist, Biopesticides Team, at CABI said: “The CABI Biopesticide Team are delighted to be able to provide growers of oilseed rape an alternative to neonics in their battle against CSFB. CABI have developed a few biopesticides over the past 25 years and it is great to work with H&T Bioseeds and Russell Bio Solutions to potentially get products on the market. With CHAP’s extensive UK network, it makes the perfect partnership for growers and scientists to come together to overcome the CSFB problem.”

Dr Nayem Hassan, Managing Director at Russel IPM, said: “The Russell IPM team is excited to develop a sustainable solution for CSFB in this challenging time when oilseed rape growers are unable to use many conventional chemicals. As a manufacturer of biological pesticides in the UK, we are really excited to see microbial technology becoming available to farmers to help them sustainably combat CSFB and avoid significant yield losses. We strongly believe that in collaboration with CABI, CHAP and H&T Bioseeds, we will be able to place a new alternative tool in growers’ hands to tackle CSFB effectively.”

Mr Paul Oliver, Managing Director at H&T Bioseed, said: “Biological solutions are an important component of future crop production. We are proud to be part of a project that has the potential to improve crop growth for farmers as well as provide better outcomes for our environment.”

The outputs of this project have the potential to significantly impact the UK economy by helping farmers increase yields through enhanced CSFB control. This project will also work towards achieving net zero emissions by 2040 through development of targeted biopesticides application systems. The wider environmental and societal benefits of this project include less damage to the environment and human/animal health due to reduction of chemical inputs.

[1] The successful grant was part of the Innovate UK ISCF TFP science and technology into practice: feasibility studies and will run for 18 months from 1st September 2020.

[2] In 2013 the EU applied restrictions (Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 485/2013) on the use of neonicotinoid-treated seeds, which had previously been used as a means of controlling CSFB in OSR establishment. Deregistration of the chemistry has seen an increase in insect numbers and associated damage, thus having significant impacts on the viability of growing OSR.

[3] In 2013, Pyrethroid insecticide applications became the go-to method of control following neonicotinoide withdrawal. However, high insect pressures and widespread damage resulted in an overreliance of the insecticide, leading to issues with resistance.

[4] CSFB (Psylliodes chrysocephala), initially a major problem in East Anglia, is now found across England and Wales and is spreading into Scotland.

About Crop Health and Protection (CHAP)

Crop Health and Protection (CHAP), funded by Innovate UK, is one of four UK Agri-Tech Centres. CHAP’s vision is for the UK to be a global leader in the development of applied Agri-Technologies, to help secure our future by nourishing a growing population sustainably while delivering economic, environmental and health benefits to society. CHAP acts as a unique, independent nexus between UK government, researchers and industry, building innovation networks to identify and accelerate the development of cutting-edge solutions to drive incremental, transformative and disruptive changes in sustainable crop productivity.


For further information about the project contact:
Dr Jenna Ross: [email protected]
Tel: +44 (0)773 26 84 788

Twitter: @CHAP_Enquiries

About CAB International (CABI)

CABI is an international not-for-profit organization that improves people’s lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment. Through knowledge sharing and science, CABI helps address issues of global concern such as improving global food security and safeguarding the environment. We do this by helping farmers grow more and lose less of what they produce, combating threats to agriculture and the environment from pests and diseases, protecting biodiversity from invasive species, and improving access to agricultural and environmental scientific knowledge. Our 50 member countries guide and influence our core areas of work, which include development and research projects, scientific publishing and microbial services.


For further information contact: Dr. Belinda Luke: [email protected]

Tel: +44 (0)1491 829034

Twitter: @cabi_news

About Russell Bio Solutions Ltd

Russell Bio Solutions is one of the leading manufacturers of natural product based biofertiliser, biostimulant and biopesticide in the UK and one of the largest in Europe. Our core expertise is sustainable biorational plant nutrition and plant protection solutions using beneficial soil microbes and natural materials. We translate science into innovative products and provide safe, effective, climate-smart solutions for agriculture and horticulture worldwide. Over the past five years, Russell Bio Solutions has developed more than 10 biorational plant protection products. Our research facilities include microbiology laboratory, liquid and solid-state microbial fermentation and microencapsulation of microbials. We market our product in more than 50 counties worldwide. We have developed various biorational solutions for important invasive insect species including Fall Armyworm, Tuta absoluta and other economically important insect pest.


For further information contact: Dr Nayem Hassan: [email protected]

Tel: +44 (0)1244 833951

About H&T Bioseed Ltd

H&T Bioseed Ltd part of the H&T group of companies. H&T specialises in the development of both organic and conventional seed technologies to provide improved crop growth and pest protection.


For further information contact: Fred Milford-Cottam: [email protected]

Twitter: @CottamFred

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