Challenges and Opportunities for Management of Crop and Tree Diseases in Northern Ireland

Phytopathogens have beleaguered the island of Ireland since the 19th century great famine caused by the potato blight oomycete, Phytophthora infestans and in recent times by cohorts of serious bacterial wilt diseases such as Erwinia, Dickeya, Ralstonia, and fungal wilt diseases predominantly caused by saprophyte fungi (e.g. Fusarium oxysporum, Pythium, Rhizoctonia) have all shown their growing resistance to various conventional chemical control agents, and create enormous impact on sustainable agriculture, further exacerbated by global climate change pressures. The plant health outlook in Northern Ireland has further been tested by emergent Europe wide agro-forestry related diseases including the recent broad host insect vector-borne Xanthamonas bacterial phytopathogen Xylella fastidiosa that can affect a wide array of ornamental, arable crops and tree species alike. This mini-review focuses on potential alternative plant extracts and microbial sources as agents broadly known as biostimulants for not only their growth promotion via plant and soil nutrient management but also controlling phytopathogens in Northern Ireland. The multi-actor approach comprising stake holders, plant health policy makers, farmers, plant health advisors, researchers, knowledge transfer centres will be the key drivers for an effective data input and sustainable plant health. Integration of precision farming with latest information and communications technology (ICT), advanced automation for need based/site-specific use of biostimulants to combat biotic and abiotic stress, on-field plant pathogen remote sensors and their extended new tool applications for soil and phytosanitory inspections at port of entry points are some of the overarching comprehensive strategies planned for the future.
Publication history: Accepted - 22 October 2020; Published online - 24 October 2020.
Biological control, Crops, Trees, Diseases, Alternative biopesticides
Rao, J. R., Moore, J., Martin, T., Nelson, D. and Fleming, C. (2020) ‘Challenges and Opportunities for Management of Crop and Tree Diseases in Northern Ireland’, Archives of Crop Science. Scholars.Direct, 4(1). doi: 10.36959/718/605.