Changing the future of food and farming

Research projects

Impacts of organic silvoarable systems on pest and disease distribution – Sheepdrove Organic Farm, Berkshire

Contract Period : 01/03/2010 - 28/08/2010

Main Funder : University of Reading/ORC

ORC Staff Contact : Jo Smith

MSc research project investigating the distribution of pests and diseases, and microclimatic differences, within a silvoarable system and arable control system.

Project Aims:

Tom Pinkham, an MSc student from University of Reading, worked with us on his research thesis to investigate the influence of tree rows on an ecosystem service – pest and disease control. He measured the influence of tree/hedgerow strips on microclimate and soil characteristics at various distances from the tree rows into the middle of the crop alleys, and in a neighbouring open field. Assessments of major pests and/or diseases, and crop assessments, were carried out in the crop alleys and compared with levels in monocropped fields. Analyses identified higher air temperatures, moister soils, and lower wind speeds when compared to control system. Weed cover was 7% higher in the agroforestry system, and aphids and Ramularia were also higher in the agroforestry crop. However, there was no significant difference in crop damage levels between the agroforestry system and control field.

ORC's Role:

Supervisory