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Crop Pathogens, Pests and Weeds

University of city
In Hatfield ()

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Important information

Typology Short course
  • Short course

There is a global need to increase food security in a sustainable manner as outlined by Sir John Beddington, the Chief Scientific Advisor (2008-2013), when he referred to the “perfect storm” and the interconnections between food production, energy use and water supply in the context of climate change. Crop pathogens, pests and weeds can reduce crop yields in the region of 25 %, and on individual areas of land by 100 %, and therefore their management is a key component of food security. This course is designed to introduce students to the biology of crop pathogens, pests and diseases and the methods by which they can be characterised and quantified.

What you'll learn on the course

Climate Change
Crop Pathogens

Course programme

The biology of some common crop diseases (fungal, virus, bacterial), pests (insects, nematodes) and weeds and explain how they cause losses in crop yields in geographically diverse agricultural environments. It will describe the development of disease epidemics and pest outbreaks. The module will introduce the student to diagnostic methods (macroscopic, microscopic, immunological and molecular), including Koch’s postulates to identify and confirm the identity of the causal pest, pathogen or weed. It will discuss the relationships between macro and micro climate in relation to agronomic factors and epidemic development. The use of decision support systems to reduce the impact of pests, weeds and diseases will be included. Threats posed by invasive pests, weeds and pathogens will be considered, in relation to trade in plant products and climate change.
The course will be run by crop protection specialists Drs Avice Hall, Ian Denholm and Keith Davies based at this center and Dr Jonathan Storkey based at Rothamsted Research. Short course cost include refreshments, including lunch, and students will be given a CD containing course lecture material.

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