A dynamic interactive tool using weather data from more than 160 UK locations will help blackcurrant growers more accurately apply control measures for a key pest.

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. iT has grown from 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 the graph to find out the best time to apply their first and second sprays. 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.

Guidance on the exact timing and the choice of control products should be supported by a BASIS qualified fruit consultant.

n The tool will be available until May at ahdb.org.uk/bgmec