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International Pest Control – July/August 2020 – Vol 62, Nr.4

| September 11, 2020

Cover Image: The Small Robot Company’s Tech team with the next generation scanning robot ‘Tom’. Credit: Small Robot Company

Whenever an economic or health crisis hits the world it seems it is the poor who pay the heaviest price and so it is with Covid-19. Smallholders do not have deep pockets, large cash reserves and access to cheap loans and government support. But help for some is coming from what might seem an unlikely source: Bayer, as part of its “Better Farm, Better Lives” initiative, will be providing seeds and helping with market access and that has to be good news. Perhaps some of the other global players could follow their lead?

A “Theory of Soil” is being developed by scientists at Rothamsted Research where the importance of carbon in creating a good soil structure has been identified and the damage done to carbon content by common farming practice demonstrated.

Syngenta Group, formed out of Syngenta AG, ADAMA and Sinochem, has announced its new structure and is now a company of 48,000 employees in over 100 countries. ADAMA – or is that Syngenta Group? – has launched a new ferric phosphate slug pellet in the UK aiming to fill the gap created by the withdrawal of metaldehyde.

Looking at new technology in pest control, our Technical Consultant Dr Partho Dhang considers the use of smoke as a delivery system for dispersal of disinfectants to reduce the surface transmission of Covid-19. Dr Zia Siddiqi, another IPC team member, looks at remote sensing systems and how they can be both help and hindrance. The world of robotics enters the world of slug control with two members of a family of robots – Tom and Dick – out to identify and kill the pest in the field.

Fully automated drone scouting is also on the cards; just programme in the route and let the drone go – no flying skill required – which makes field monitoring a simple task requiring a comfy chair and a landing spot for the drone after it has done all the work. The technology also comes out on top in Wageningen University and Research’s second “Autonomous Greenhouse” challenge, with the winning team using Artificial Intelligence to outperform the team of experienced growers.

Carbon as a subject is back again with a new tool from SAC Consulting adding soil sequestration to its model developed to allow farmers to determine how changes to management practices can contribute to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. One day farm subsidies may be focused on carbon sequestration and not on production.

With hedgehogs under threat in the UK it’s hard to think of them as an invasive pest but in New Zealand that is just what they have become. Research is looking at using smell to put both hedgehogs and ferrets off the scent of the indigenous bird population which is under threat from these invaders.

Locusts may be biblical, but they are also with us today and on a scale that has been magnified by climate change, war, and pandemic. The whole story can read like an apocalypse but Professor Graham Matthews points out that we have the technology to control the pest and new technologies such as the fungal treatment Green Muscle can work if used early enough. Nonetheless the FAO assessment of the current situation is sober reading.

Dr Clare Simpson introduces the concept of PUSH-PULL pest management in fruit crops. Pushing pests away, pulling in beneficial insects and pulling the pests onto traps. She claims the technology can significantly reduce reliance on pesticides and forms an important part of an IPM programme.

Finally, upland farmers are told by Dr Terry Mabbett, another member of our Editorial panel, not to fear foliar disease as he looks at how foliar feeds can keep fungal and bacterial pests at bay.

Chris Endacott, Editor International Pest Control magazine
Email Chris on

Contents International Pest Control July/August 2020
Volume 62, Number 4.


  • Smallholders to bear the brunt of Covid-19.
  • CABI appoints next Chief Executive Officer.
  • Discovered: what makes high carbon soils so valuable.
  • Black-grass resistance to herbicides is getting worse.
  • Angela Karp is new Rothamsted Research CEO.
  • Agreements to resolve major legacy Monsanto litigation.
  • Carbon sequestration is the newest crop opportunity.
  • New African Centre of Excellence in Rwanda.
  • UK report calls for ambitious pesticide reduction target.
  • Biotechnology continues to provide higher farmer income.


  • New ICUP website with searchable proceedings.
  • BCPC Congress 2020.
  • Amenity Forum Conference.
  • Professor Nick Sotherton retires from the GWCT.


  • Syngenta Group – creating a global agtech market leader.
  • New team member at NewPharm.
  • PelGar brings its R&D in.
  • New ferric phosphate molluscicide launched in UK.
  • Acceres acquires the German R&D centres of Certis Europe.

SPECIAL FEATURE – Technology in Pest Control.

  • Smoke as a delivery system – Partho Dhang, PhD.
  • Remote sensing in pest control – A paradigm shift – Zia Siddiqi, PhD, BCE Emeritus.
  • SlugBot may put an end to slimy pests – Small Robot Company.
  • Automated drone scouting.
  • AI beats growers in autonomous greenhouse challenge – Wageningen University & Research.
  • Adding soil sequestration to carbon calculating tool – SAC Consulting.


  • Invasive hedgehogs and ferrets habituate to smells – Ecological Society of America.


  • Desert locust swarms attacking crops in many countries – Prof Graham Matthews.
  • Risk of swarm migration from Horn of Africa.
  • Green MuscleTM fighting back against locusts – CABI.
  • Fungal pathogen disables plant defence – Max Plank, Institute for Chemical Ecology.
  • Grey field slug research aims to reduce pesticide use – Harper Adams University.
  • New tool to combat Fusarium head blight in wheat – Dennis O’Brien.
  • Fall Armyworm Research Collaboration Portal – CABI.


  • PUSH-PULL – a novel strategy for pest management – Dr Clare Sampson, Charles Griffiths and Dr Nayem Hassan.
  • Wanted: Powdery mildew samples – Rothamsted Research.
  • Allaying farmer fears around upland vegetable crops – Dr Terry Mabbett.


  • Upcoming pest control events


Published in International Pest Control – July/August 2020 issue.

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Category: Issue Editorial & Contents

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