ENDURE’s Information Centre team had lots to reveal at the giant Cereals 2009 exhibition, not least the new ENDURE ‘uniform’, which helped them stand out from the 26,000-strong crowd at June’s event in Cambridgeshire, England!
The team was at Cereals 2009 to test the ENDURE Information Centre (ENDURE IC), the web-based system for sharing agricultural best practice across Europe, with invited advisers from the UK, Germany, France, Denmark and the Netherlands.
These advisers were given a thorough briefing, including a visit to the test plots of the farm management and advisory company Velcourt, before being let loose on the ENDURE IC. They also had the opportunity to test an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) card game that has been devised by advisory experts at the Danish Agricultural Advisory Service (DAAS), one of two ENDURE partners from Denmark.
The card game sets specific challenges, for example problems with black grass following successive cultivations of winter wheat, and provides a range of possible solutions. These solutions are then analysed and discussed by the group to produce practical solutions.
The ENDURE team is using feedback from the advisers to draw up a list of improvements which will be made to the ENDURE IC before it goes live to the public later this year.
The ENDURE IC also attracted the interest of the British press at the event, with Horticulture Week carrying a report of the test and an interview with Susannah Bolton, one of the ENDURE IC team and head of international liaison at ENDURE’s UK partner, Rothamsted Research.
“Advisers will be able to see very quickly what’s happening in Europe,” she told the journal. “For example, in the case of pollen beetle, where insecticide resistance is just developing in the UK, they will be able to find out what advisers elsewhere have been doing about it.”
Highlighting the pesticide law changes
The Velcourt stand at the show contained an exhibit designed to highlight the possible impact of the recent European Union pesticides legislation. Speaking on the Velcourt stand, Dominic Dyer, chief executive of the UK’s Crop Protection Association, told Farmers Guardian magazine that the legislation highlighted how much more scientific scrutiny and evaluation of proposed legislation needs to be done.
He said the UK government’s chief scientist, Professor Sir John Beddington, was calling for the establishment of a network of government chief scientists to assess this type of legislation. “There is something like it at the G8 level but not at the EU level,” he told the magazine. “There is a big issue here for the UK government to think about.”