Preparing for an autumn without neonicotinoids

There was a big focus on growing cereal crops without neonicotinoids at the ‘Cereals‘ event in the UK last week and it’s clear that farmers and the industry are very concerned about the risk of barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) to their crops.

At the Syngenta stand, the company focused on some cultural control methods which can help to reduce BYDV pressure in crops.

Planning is the first step in controlling the virus and as farmers look to the winter cropping season ahead, field selection and variety should be a key part of that plan.

Farmers should first assess which crop to grow. Some fields may be more suited to winter wheat than winter barley for example. Getting crops off to the right start is essential.

It is then important to look out for a variety with BYDV tolerance. Choosing BYDV tolerance over high yield characteristics may work out better in the long run.

Removing the green bridge

Another step sometimes used in the reduction of BYDV is the removal of the green bridge. Controlling volunteers can reduce the level of carryover pests. It effectively takes away the aphids’ habitat.


Drilling later in the season can reduce the threat of BYDV in autumn-sown crops and can also reduce the number of aphicide treatments the crop will receive as cold temperatures may have reduced aphid levels.

Getting the balance right is difficult as it is also important to drill at a time when conditions are at their best to ensure quick establishment and a healthy plant.

Application of insecticides

The final factor on the list is the application of insecticides. As part of a good integrated pest management strategy, this should be the final measure used in the reduction of BYDV. Spraying should be carried out “with the best product, at the right time” where it needs to be done.

Water volume, forward speed and nozzle choice will all affect spray coverage and should be considered carefully.