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A method is proposed which considers Integrated Pest Management (IPM) through several lenses, in order to obtain a more holistic view of the potential for IPM, and is described using a case study of Scottish spring barley. Long-term experimental field trial databases are used to determine which management methods are best suited to the system at hand. Stakeholder engagement provides insight into which of these methods are most likely to be taken up by farmers. Finally, a database of commercial practice allows an estimate of the potential for improving management patterns, based on current levels of IPM uptake across a wider sample of Scottish farmers. Together, these diverse sources of information give a more complete view of a complex system than any individual source could and allow the identification of IPM methods which are robust, practical, and not already in widespread use in this system. Bringing together these sources of information may be of particular value for policy and other decision makers, who need information about strategies which are both practical and likely to have a large positive impact. In the case of Scottish spring barley, there is good potential to reduce the need for fungicide use through the increased use of highly resistant barley varieties.
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CABI Agriculture and Bioscience (2022) 3:23
An interdisciplinary method forassessing
IPM potential: case study inScottish spring
Stacia Stetkiewicz1,2,3,4* , Ann Bruce2, Fiona J. Burnett1, Richard A. Ennos3 and Cairistiona F. E. Topp1
A method is proposed which considers Integrated Pest Management (IPM) through several lenses, in order to obtain
a more holistic view of the potential for IPM, and is described using a case study of Scottish spring barley. Long-term
experimental field trial databases are used to determine which management methods are best suited to the system
at hand. Stakeholder engagement provides insight into which of these methods are most likely to be taken up by
farmers. Finally, a database of commercial practice allows an estimate of the potential for improving management
patterns, based on current levels of IPM uptake across a wider sample of Scottish farmers. Together, these diverse
sources of information give a more complete view of a complex system than any individual source could and allow
the identification of IPM methods which are robust, practical, and not already in widespread use in this system. Bring-
ing together these sources of information may be of particular value for policy and other decision makers, who need
information about strategies which are both practical and likely to have a large positive impact. In the case of Scottish
spring barley, there is good potential to reduce the need for fungicide use through the increased use of highly resist-
ant barley varieties.
Keywords: Integrated Pest Management, Farmer decision making, Disease resistance, Stakeholder engagement,
Interdisciplinary methods, Varietal disease resistance
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Pesticide has been widely used in agricultural systems
since the Green Revolution (McLaughlin and Mineau
1995; Robinson and Sutherland 2002), as a way of reduc-
ing damage to crops due to pests, pathogens, and weeds
(Cooper and Dobson 2007); yet its use carries the poten-
tial for concomitant negative effects, such as reduced
soil health and ecosystem function (Chen et al. 2001;
Min etal. 2002; Vieira etal. 2007) and non-target toxic-
ity linked to biodiversity loss (Beketov etal. 2013; Gei-
ger etal. 2010; McLaughlin and Mineau 1995). Despite
pesticide use being relatively little-studied in comparison
with other agricultural inputs (Bernhardt et al. 2017),
alternatives to the standard pesticide spray programmes
have been suggested in the form of Integrated Pest Man-
agement (IPM) for over fifty years (Stern etal. 1959). IPM
(defined here as per the FAO) is an ecosystem approach
which combines diverse management practices in order
to minimize the use of pesticides while protecting crops
from pest, pathogens, and weeds (FAO 2017), and has
been found to improve the overall environmental sustain-
ability of farms, as compared to conventional pesticide
use (Lefebvre etal. 2014). IPM can encompass a num-
ber of methods, including forecasting disease intensity
and adjusting spraying programmes accordingly, sowing
highly resistant crop varieties, and using crop rotation.
Open Access
CABI Agriculture
and Bioscience
4 Division of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, University
of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough, Leicestershire
LE12 5RD, Scotland
Full list of author information is available at the end of the article
Page 2 of 13
Stetkiewiczetal. CABI Agriculture and Bioscience (2022) 3:23
IPM effectiveness is often assessed via field experi-
ments which aim to consider the impact of IPM on yield,
crop quality, biodiversity, and other key agro-ecological
factors (Bailey etal. 2001; Deike etal. 2008; Detheridge
etal. 2016; Flower etal. 2017; Hysing etal. 2012). While
field experiments provide important insights, such work
remains essentially theoretical without engagement with
stakeholders (including farmers, policy makers, agrono-
mists, and other agri-food actors). Decision making is
a complex process, which will necessarily involve the
weighing of risks when choosing management strate-
gies (Dandy 2012; Ilbery et al. 2013; Ingram 2008), and
may result in stakeholder decisions which are not fully
aligned with experimental outputs. is is particularly
important, as farmer decisions are often more strongly
influenced by market forces and the marketing of pes-
ticides than by IPM recommendations (Magarey et al.
2019). Despite the potential benefits of collaboration
with stakeholders, relatively few published studies have
conducted social science engagement alongside scientific
analysis for IPM, though post-hoc studies to understand
whether given methods were taken up several years after
governmental recommendations were put forward have
been carried out in the UK (ADAS 2002; Bailey et al.
2009). While the use of social science research in order
to understand the complexities of plant disease risks
is becoming more common (Bailey et al. 2009; Ilbery
etal. 2013; Maye etal. 2012; Sherman and Gent 2014),
few studies bring together which farmer opinions, actual
practice, and experimental research into IPM as part of a
single research project. is study addresses this gap by
using three types of data (long-term experimental field
trials, stakeholder surveying, and actual practice report-
ing) to assess the potential for IPM to reduce the need
for fungicide use in the case study crop of Scottish spring
barley, in order to identify IPM methods which are of
interest both in terms of scientifically measured outputs
and to farmers in this system.
Barley: acrop ofglobal andlocal importance
Barley is one of the top five crops in the world in terms
of hectares harvested, at over 47 million in 2017 (FAO
2019), and is of particular importance in Scotland,
where spring barley is the main cereal crop, accounting
for approximately 50% of arable land (excluding perma-
nent grassland) in 2016 (Scottish Government 2016).
e dominance of spring barley in Scotland is largely
due to the malting industry, which offers a price pre-
mium, although most barley is ultimately destined for
feed (Scottish Government 2015) after failing to meet
stringent malting requirements. Fungal pathogens are
key pests of barley, which have been estimated to cause
a total yield loss of 15% worldwide (Oerke and Dehne
2004) and 14% in the USA (James etal. 1991). To combat
these diseases, over 160,000kg of fungicide was applied
to Scottish spring barley in 2016 (over an average of 1.8
fungicide applications applied to 93% of the crop area),
representing 42% of the total amount of pesticide applied
to the crop (Monie etal. 2017). Fungicide use in Scottish
spring barley therefore provides an opportunity to assess
the potential for reducing pesticide use, in a system
which is of both local and global importance.
Materials andmethods
Two IPM methods—crop rotation and varietal resist-
ance—were considered in terms of their impact on yield
and disease levels for three of the most important dis-
eases in the Scottish spring barley production system
(Ramularia leaf spot (RLS), caused by Ramularia collo-
cygni; scald, caused by Rhynchosporium commune; and
powdery mildew, caused by Blumeria graminis f. sp.
hordei). Each source of data was assessed individually
before being compared to gain insights into the potential
for IPM uptake, producing a more unified picture of dis-
ease management.
Stakeholder survey
A stakeholder survey of 43 farmers and 36 agrono-
mists who were involved in the production of Scottish
spring barley was conducted at four locations across
Scotland, through a convenience sample of attendees
at the Agronomy 2016 events, (co-hosted by Scotland’s
Rural College (SRUC) and the Agriculture and Horti-
culture Development Board (AHDB)) in order to obtain
a relatively large sample at low-cost. e agronomists
presented a varied group, with some based in the Scot-
tish Agricultural College advisory service (linked with
SRUC), and others from the private sector. e farm-
ers in attendance at these events presented a group
which was more highly educated than the norm, had
larger farm sizes, and were voluntarily attending an
event where disease management was being discussed.
e results from these stakeholders should there-
fore be considered as coming from an early adopter of
innovation group—as per age, farm size and education
characteristics (Diederen etal. 2003; Rogers 1961). In
addition to key socio-economic and grouping informa-
tion, data were collected regarding variety use on farm
from 2011 to 2015, previous rotations, fungicide use,
main diseases on farm, and opinions regarding fungi-
cide use in future. Data from this survey were used to
assess the current level of uptake of key IPM methods,
and openness towards IPM use in future. Farmers were
found to have low levels of uptake of crop rotation and
varietal disease resistance, but to be open to using these
in principle. More information regarding methodology,
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Stetkiewiczetal. CABI Agriculture and Bioscience (2022) 3:23
results, and a copy of the survey used has been previ-
ously published and is available in Stetkiewicz et al.
(2018). Survey results were then compared with experi-
mental field data and commercial data in order to pro-
vide context-specific information regarding farmer
perceptions and use of IPM—this process is described
in detail below.
Experimental Field Trials database
Data for 1996–2014 from a long term experimental
Field Trials database collected by SRUC for spring bar-
ley were analysed to determine: the management and
environmental factors which influenced the difference in
untreated and (best-practice) treated yields from 1996 to
2014; the effect of using fungicide on spring barley yields
from 2011 to 2014 for varieties sown by surveyed farm-
ers in those years; and the potential difference in profit
between treated and untreated barley production, using
Field Trial yield data for 2011–2014 and barley price
data from the AHDB. ese data were used to provide
information regarding the potential of IPM methods
to reduce the need for fungicide use, without decreas-
ing yields. Disease resistance level and wet weather
were found to be important in determining the level of
impact on yield of treatment. While the average yields of
treated plots were 0.62t/ha higher than untreated plots,
in a majority of the cases assessed (65%), the impact of
fungicide treatment on yield was not statistically signifi-
cant. Yield varied both regionally and annually through-
out the database. Fungicide treatment had the greatest
positive impact on yield in the database in the Lothians
in 1998, where average treated yields were 2.3 t/ha higher
than average untreated yields in the same trial. However,
in the Scottish Borders in 2006, average untreated yields
were in fact 0.68 t/ha higher than the average treated
yields in the same trial. Overall, 93 trials in the database
included years where treated trials had higher yields than
untreated trials (although only in 63 of these trials were
the differences greater than 0.5 t/ha), while in 7 trials
untreated yields were higher than treated yields. More
detailed information about the Field Trials database used,
variation in yield across time and geographical location,
as well as the analysis undertaken and results obtained
has been previously published and is available in Stetkie-
wicz etal. (2019).
Commercial practice database: Adopt‑a‑Crop
e third source of data used in this interdisciplinary
comparison was the Adopt-a-Crop (AAC) database,
which provides information regarding current practice
on Scottish commercial farms.
Scope andpurpose oftheAdopt‑a‑Crop database
e AAC was initially funded by the Scottish Govern-
ment as an advisory activity, designed to provide warn-
ings about current and emerging pest, disease, and weed
levels in crops to both farmers and government. Data
were collected for immediate, rather than long-term use,
and this project represents the first attempt to analyse the
information collected in the AAC as a long-term data-
base. e AAC contains information from 1983 onwards
for a range of arable crops, collected from across Scot-
land. Information regarding location, sowing date, crop
and variety planted provides a large amount of data about
actual practice on Scottish commercial farms for the past
three decades. Which farms are included in the AAC
database varies from year to year, as these are selected
by SRUC/Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) consult-
ants, based in local SAC offices throughout the country.
Advisors choose farms to include in the survey, with a
maximum of 50% being client farms, in order to broadly
reflect the acreage of each crop grown in their local area.
e AAC is compiled through the Crop Health Advisory
Activity, which is funded by the Scottish Government
through its Veterinary and Advisory Service Programme
(re-launched in 2016 as the Farm Advisory Service).
Following extensive cleaning and preparation of the
AAC and the incorporation of additional information
regarding varietal disease resistance from the Scottish
Cereal Recommended Lists (SAC and HGCA 2012, 2011,
2010, 2009, 2015; SRUC 2013; SRUC and HGCA 2014),
data from 2009 to 2015 was analysed, as a useful over-
lap with the farmer survey variety data, which covered
2011–2015. e AAC data were used to estimate the
current levels of uptake of rotations and varietal disease
resistance in the Scottish spring barley farmer popula-
tion, using a larger and more geographically diverse sam-
ple than in the stakeholder survey, where the sample was
necessarily limited in scope. Results from the AAC data
and stakeholder survey were compared to understand
how representative the surveyed farmers were in rela-
tion to the broader sector, and thus to what extent results
from this survey can be used to gauge wider farmer
Data analysis: comparisons acrossdata sources
Varietal information from the AAC was analysed both to
assess the disease resistance profiles of the fields included
in the database, as well as to provide a comparison with
the stakeholder survey and Field Trials data. As such, a
number of metrics were produced, including: the propor-
tion of varieties sown which were included in the Rec-
ommended List for that year, the proportion of varieties
sown which were highly resistant to each disease and/or
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Stetkiewiczetal. CABI Agriculture and Bioscience (2022) 3:23
to two or more of the diseases, the most frequently sown
varieties, and the percent of varieties sown which were
listed as being suitable for a given market in the Recom-
mended List (see Table1 for a summary of each metric
presented in this paper). A comparison was then made
between the datasets for each metric, and correlations
were used to assess association between the spring bar-
ley varieties listed in the stakeholder survey and AAC.
As information was not available from the AAC regard-
ing the intended market of the spring barley grown, the
potential market(s) for each variety was determined
using the Recommended List for a given year. A com-
parison of the varieties sown in the AAC with the ‘best
possible’ varietal choice (calculated as the fully approved
distilling variety with the highest mean resistance for
RLS, scald, and powdery mildew in that year) was made,
along with the proportion of varieties in each year which
fell below the ‘best possible’ varietal choice, and there-
fore represent the potential to improve varietal disease
resistance on-farm. A similar approach was taken to
analyse rotation information. e proportion of fields
reported to have had continuous barley or cereals in the
AAC was calculated, and the potential for a link between
previous crop and the use of highly resistant varieties was
explored. ese were then compared against stakeholder
survey results, to provide a summary of the opportunities
existing for improving rotational practice on commercial
farms. Geographical location was assessed at regional
level, to provide a comparison with the stakeholder sur-
vey results, Field Trial data, and Scottish Government
farming statistics (Scottish Government 2015), to ensure
that the data being compared were not heavily skewed by
region, as this may have implications for farm size and
structure, and thus farm management decisions. e
regions and sub-regions used are those from the Scottish
Government’s Economic Report on Scottish Agriculture
(ERSA) (2015), and are shown in Fig.1, below.
Varietal information
Frequently sown varieties
Of the varieties sown in the AAC, 22.1% were not found
in the Recommended List for that year, as compared to
4.6% of varieties in the stakeholder survey. Eight entries
in the AAC listed mixed variety sowing, where two or
more spring barley varieties were sown in the same field
Table 1 Summary of metrics produced assessing the Adopt-a-Crop (AAC) and the sources to which each was compared
AAC metric: Compared with Analysis notes Relevant
Proportion of varieties sown which were on the Recom-
mended List for that year Stakeholder survey Percentage
Most frequently listed varieties Stakeholder survey Top ten most commonly listed for each source; correlations
test for association between the two sources Table 2
Disease resistance rating for each disease Stakeholder
survey; Field Trials
Percentage highly resistant to one or more diseases; per-
centage highly resistant to two or more diseases Table 3
Mean disease resistance by market Stakeholder survey Mean resistance rating for each disease; proportion resist-
ant to one or more diseases
Resistance rating by year Stakeholder survey Percent of varieties with each disease resistance rating by
year; percent highly resistant per year; percent below best
choice per year
Table 4
Potential market Stakeholder survey Percent of varieties with the potential (assessed via Recom-
mended Lists) to be used in each barley market
Previous crop Stakeholder survey Percent of fields with continuous barley/cereals in each
source Figure 3
Impact of previous crop on resistance rating Stakeholder survey Mean disease resistance rating for continuous and non-
continuous barley Table 5
Variation in sowing of continuous barley/cereals by year Percent of fields in AAC with continuous barley/cereals
each year
Geographical spread ERSA 2015; stake-
holder survey; Field
Trials database
Number and percent of farms in each sub-region of Scot-
land for each source
Variation of farming practice by region For each sub-region: percent of varieties highly resistant
to two or more diseases, percent of fields with continuous
barley, percent of fields with continuous cereals
Regional variation in main market ERSA 2015 Percent of fields with varieties of each market type, by
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Stetkiewiczetal. CABI Agriculture and Bioscience (2022) 3:23
at the same time. ese entries were removed from all
comparisons and proportions, as variety mixes cannot
be directly compared to individual varieties in terms of
resistance rating, and there were too few data points to
analyse varietal mixing separately. It is interesting to note,
however, this presence of varietal mixing on commercial
farms, which was not found in the stakeholder survey.
e ten most frequently listed varieties in the AAC and
stakeholder survey are shown below in Table2. ree of
the five most popular varieties were the same in both the
AAC and stakeholder survey, and were also present in the
Field Trials database. A number of varieties listed in the
top ten for each source are also common to both sources.
All of the top ten varieties in the stakeholder survey were
listed in the AAC, and seven of the top ten in the AAC
were listed in the stakeholder survey, and the varieties
listed in the survey and AAC were strongly correlated
(with a coefficient of 0.81) suggesting substantial overlap
and comparability between the two data sources. is
was taken to imply that IPM methods relating to variety
choice which could be of use for one set of farmers (those
surveyed) are likely to be applicable to the second set (the
wider group of farmers in the AAC).
Disease resistance
e proportion of varieties which were highly resistant to
each disease (a score of seven or higher on the standard
nine point scale used by the SRUC/AHDB, where one is
the lowest resistance and nine is the highest resistance is
used throughout this paper (SRUC and AHDB, 2017)),
as well as those highly resistant to two or more diseases
is presented in Table 3. is showed fewer fields with
highly resistant varieties to powdery mildew in the AAC
than the stakeholder survey (although the figure was con-
sistent with the Field Trials), but more fields with highly
resistant varieties to RLS in the AAC than in the survey
or Field Trials. e stakeholder survey had a higher per-
centage of varieties with high resistance to two or more
Table 2 Ten most frequently sown varieties in the AAC and survey, and their presence in the Field Trial databases*
*Number of times listed in either the AAC or survey is only included where these varieties fall in the top ten for that given source; otherwise, ‘Present’ is used
Number of times listed in AAC Number of times listed by farmers in
survey Present in Field Trials
database 1996–2014
Concerto 132 125 Yes
Optic 102 35 Yes
Waggon 79 23 Yes
Oxbridge 30 8 Yes
Propino 16 14
Belgravia 15 28 Yes
Maresi 15
Decanter 12
Riviera 11 Yes
Westminster 11 Present Yes
Odyssey Present 17
Chronicle Present 7
Golden Promise Present 4
Catriona Present 3
Table 3 Proportion of varieties which were highly resistant to each disease*
*Proportion based on: total number of varieties for which varietal information is available (i.e. discounts varieties not in the Recommended Lists and variety mixtures).
RLS proportions are based on the varieties in each dataset from 2012 onwards, when resistance ratings were rst published. In this paper, ‘highly resistant’ is dened
as a rating of 7 or above, on the standard 1–9 disease resistance scale
**Any Resistance is dened as the variety having a rating of 7 or above for one or more of the three diseases of interest
RLS (2012 onwards) Scald Powdery mildew Two or more diseases Any Resistance**
AAC 26.1% 14.2% 58.1% 17.4% 74.5%
Survey (farmer) 17.8% 19.3% 84.3% 28.7% 84.3%
Field Trials 2011–2014
(survey varieties only) 14.3% 13.6% 59% 15.9% 59.2%
Field Trials 1996–2014 (all
varieties) 5.3% 15% 59% 12% 63%
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Stetkiewiczetal. CABI Agriculture and Bioscience (2022) 3:23
diseases than the AAC or Field Trials. However, the pro-
portion of varieties which were highly resistant to RLS,
scald, or ‘two or more diseases,’ was below one third of
the total in all cases. e proportion highly resistant to
powdery mildew, by contrast, was over half in every
source. Differences in disease resistance between malt-
ing and feed barley were similar in both the stakeholder
survey and AAC, with more feed varieties being resistant
to one or more diseases than malting varieties: 100% of
AAC and 100% of survey feed varieties were resistant to
one or more diseases, as compared to 67% of AAC and
82.5% of survey distilling varieties. For all three diseases,
on average more than half of the fields in the AAC had a
variety which was below the ‘best choice’ distilling variety
for that year—for scald nearly 90% of varieties sown were
below the best choice (see Fig.2 and Table4).
Barley market
e percentage of varieties which could be used in each
market was comparable between the AAC and survey
data, with a large majority having the potential (as deter-
mined by the Recommended List) to be sold for Dis-
tilling/Grain Distilling in both the AAC (73%) and the
stakeholder survey (84%).
Crop rotation
Despite a substantial amount of variation in previous
crop, the majority of fields in the AAC had been sown
with consecutive cereals (420 out of 479), of which most
were consecutive barley (339 out of 479); winter wheat
was the second most frequently sown cereal crop (79
out of 479), with spring wheat and oats making up the
remainder of the cereal crops. is mirrored the stake-
holder survey results (see Fig. 3), with both sources
showing over two thirds of farmers to be sowing consec-
utive barley in some fields each year. Mean disease resist-
ance rating did not vary depending on previous crop
sown for AAC fields, which is similar to the lack of varia-
tion in disease resistance rating from survey respondents
who stated they often/always sowed consecutive barley
versus those who did not (see Table5). While the per-
centage of fields with continuous barley or cereals varied
across years—continuous barley having a minimum of
60% (2013) and maximum of 76% (2010), and continuous
cereals a minimum of 83% (2009 and 2013) and maxi-
mum of 93% (2012)—there was no clear trend showing
any increase or decrease in this practice.
Regional variation
e AAC data were distributed in a way which is rela-
tively representative of barley farming in Scotland; in all
but two sub-regions, the proportion of farms included
in the AAC was within 10% of that reported in the 2015
Economic Report on Scottish Agriculture (Scottish Gov-
ernment 2015). Both exceptions had a higher proportion
of farms reported in the AAC than in the ERSA, but were
within 20% of the ERSA figures: North East: + 18.7%, and
Tayside: + 10.2%. Geographical spread in the AAC also
matched well with that reported in the stakeholder sur-
vey, with both showing higher proportions of farmers
located in the North East than in ERSA figures; however
variation between proportions for Tayside were substan-
tial, with 18.8% of AAC farms coming from the region,
as compared with only 1% of surveyed farmers. e Field
Trials 2011–2014 database had a much higher percent-
age of farms in the Lothian sub-region, and a much lower
percentage in the North East and Highland areas than
was seen in either the AAC or the ERSA.
Some differences in varietal resistance across regions
were evident, with fluctuations from a low of 0% of varie-
ties being highly resistant to two or more diseases (Fife)
to a high of 30% (Ayrshire). Only one sub-region in the
AAC had less than 50% of farmers sowing consecutive
barley (Scottish Borders), suggesting that this is a com-
mon practice across the country. e minimum propor-
tion of farmers sowing consecutive cereals in the AAC
was 60% (Ayrshire) again suggesting this is common
across all sub-regions. e majority of AAC fields in each
sub-region sowed varieties which are listed in the Rec-
ommended List as distilling/grain distilling or brewing
varieties—the exceptions being Ayrshire (55% feed bar-
ley), Clyde Valley (87.5%), and Orkney (60%).
Comparability ofthedata sources
Overall, the three data sources show a similar range of
varieties in use, and thus resistance ratings and possible
markets. e AAC and survey both have high propor-
tions of fields with consecutive cereals or barley, and
do not show an impact of this on the choice of disease
resistance levels in the current crop. Geographical spread
is also broadly similar between the sources, albeit with
a trend in the Field Trials data towards more data from
the South East of Scotland. e three sources were there-
fore deemed broadly comparable for the purposes of this
Key opportunities toimprove commercial practice
Considering current practice as recorded in the AAC, the
potential for improving IPM decisions regarding varietal
choice and crop rotation is appreciable. Less than one
third of varieties in the AAC were highly resistant to RLS,
scald, or two or more diseases, and less than two thirds
were highly resistant to powdery mildew. e AAC data
had a lower proportion of varieties in the Recommended
List in a given year as compared to the farmer survey
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Stetkiewiczetal. CABI Agriculture and Bioscience (2022) 3:23
data, suggesting a possible difference between the AAC
and survey groups. However, market possibilities, mean disease resistance ratings, and variety popularity showed
strong similarities between the two data sources.
Table 4 Best choice versus actual uptake of varieties in the AAC (expressed as a percentage of varieties recorded)*
*Bold text indicates the rating of the ‘best’ choice variety for that year/disease combination (this will be the highest rated variety which has full recommendation for
distilling in the Recommended List)
** Note: Scald is presented as ‘Rhynchosporium’ and RLS is presented as ‘Ramularia’ in the Recommended List; both have been updated in this table in line with the
nomenclature used throughout this paper
*** ‘Highly resistant’ rows show the percentage of varieties for that year/disease combination with a disease resistance rating of 7 or more (on the standard 1–9 scale)
*** ‘Below best choice’ rows show the percentage of varieties for that year/disease combination which have a disease resistance rating below the maximum possible
for that year/disease combination. This is of particular value for those years/disease combinations where no varieties have a resistance rate of 7 or more, such as for
scald and RLS in 2015
Disease rating (1–9) 2015 2014
Powdery mildew Scald** RLS Powdery mildew Scald RLS
3 41%
4 83% 39%
5 14% 14%
6 9% 17% 71% 51%
720% 36%
8 6% 29% 44%
986% 42%
AAC: Highly resistant*** 92% 0% 29% 86% 20% 36%
AAC: Below Best choice**** 15% 83% 0% 58% 80% 65%
Survey: Highly resistant 90% 31% 22%
Survey: Below best choice 68% 69% 78%
2013 2012 2011
Disease rating (1–9) Powdery mildew Scald RLS Powdery mildew Scald RLS Powdery mildew Scald
3 37% 23% 19%
4 41% 72% 1% 66%
5 13% 14% 21% 75% 23% 1%
6 4% 51% 26%
718% 34% 2% 3% 9%
8 55% 53% 2% 44% 6%
932% 26% 29%
AAC: Highly resistant 87% 18% 34% 79% 4% 0% 76% 15%
AAC: Below Best choice 68% 82% 65% 74% 97% 75% 71% 95%
Survey: Highly resistant 90% 23% 23% 76% 18% 9% 70% 28%
Survey: Below best choice 75% 77% 77% 76% 90% 5% 78% 100%
2010 2009
Disease rating (1–9) Powdery mildew Scald Powdery mildew Scald
3 8% 8%
4 61% 38%
5 47% 41% 12%
6 7% 10%
7 14% 17% 26% 26%
8 14% 7% 9% 6%
925% 24%
AAC: Highly resistant 53% 24% 59% 32%
AAC: Below best choice 75% 93% 76% 94%
Page 8 of 13
Stetkiewiczetal. CABI Agriculture and Bioscience (2022) 3:23
As a majority of farmers in both the AAC and survey
sowed consecutive barley and/or cereals, there is also a
possibility for widespread uptake of more varied rota-
tions in Scotland. ere is no evidence in the AAC data
that farmers are ‘trading off’ one IPM method for another
(e.g. more resistant varieties are not being sown after
consecutive barley/cereals), so adoption of both more
robust rotations and more highly disease resistant varie-
ties could, in theory, happen in concert, reducing disease
intensity on farm. Previous analysis of the Field Trials
database considered in this paper has found that while
fungicide use on spring barley in these trials did not sta-
tistically significantly impact yields in a majority of cases,
varietal disease resistance plays a key role in determining
yield difference (Stetkiewicz etal. 2019).
e lack of diversity in rotations used was noted by the
Scottish Government (2012) in their survey of agricul-
tural production methods, where it was found that 79%
of arable land (excluding permanent crops and grass) was
not in a crop rotation. is is in contrast to survey results,
where a majority of UK cereal farmers self-reported as
using crop rotations to control pests, diseases and weeds
(ADAS 2002), and where UK wheat farmers considered
rotations to be an important disease management tool
(Maye etal. 2012). It is possible that Scottish and UK-
wide practices differ, or that wheat farmers have taken
up crop rotation more widely than other arable farmers.
Conversely, self-reported data from farmers may not be
a reliable indicator for this practice. Relatedly, a meta-
analysis of self-reported pro-environmental behaviours
found that although self-reported behaviour was gener-
ally highly associated with objective behaviour measures
(r = 0.46), 79% of the variance in association between the
two remained unexplained (Kormos and Gifford 2014).
Work assessing the validity of self-report measures for
pesticide exposure found that, for orchardists asked to
recall pesticides used over twenty years previously, sen-
sitivity of recall was good to excellent (0.6–0.9) for the
broad categories of insecticides, herbicides, fungicides,
and for heavily used chemical classes, though lower and
more variable for specific pesticides (0.1–0.6) (Engel etal.
2001). e limitations of relying solely upon self-reported
data are evident from the variability of these results,
making the connection between stakeholder survey data
and commercial farm practice data particularly valuable.
Comparison ofthethree data sources
e analysis undertaken of the Field Trials database
suggests that season rainfall and disease resistance are
important factors when considering the impact of fun-
gicide use on yields, see Stetkiewicz etal. (2019). Stake-
holder survey results indicate that some farmers are
willing to take up disease resistant varieties, rotations,
and forecasting disease intensity—there is therefore no
inherent attitudinal problem which prevents farmers
from using these IPM methods (see Stetkiewicz et al.
2018). e AAC results add to this picture, by confirming
that in a larger sample of farmers, rotation practices and
varietal resistance usage could, at least in theory, be sub-
stantially improved upon. Further analysis including fore-
casting of disease intensity would be useful in expanding
this work linking commercial practice with stakeholder
surveys, but information regarding weather-related deci-
sions was not recorded in the AAC. e AAC does, how-
ever, give a snapshot of current practice on commercial
farms across Scotland, and highlights the opportunities
for improving IPM practice in spring barley production.
Limitations oftheresearch
Using long-term information creates both difficulties and
opportunities for research, as does the attempt to trian-
gulate three separately collected datasets. While long-
term data may be useful in order to convince farmers and
policy makers of the widespread applicability of research
outputs (Wiik 2009), collecting and collating such data
requires an unusual level of institutional commitment
over a prolonged period. Comparing long-term data-
sets is likely, as was the case in this work, to raise issues
around the adequacy of data collection procedures, due
to the necessary involvement of many individuals in data
collection (Clutton-Brock and Sheldon 2010), and the
lack of directly comparable metrics, particularly where
datasets have been collected for purposes other than
those of the project at hand. Due to the way in which the
long-term databases used in this analysis were collected,
and their original purposes, this analysis was only able
to concern itself with a small subset of potential issues
of relevance to IPM. Additional information, particu-
larly in relation to other IPM components of relevance
such as tillage systems (including minimum tillage), crop
Table 5 Impact of continuous sowing of barley on disease
resistance rating on recorded varieties in the AAC and survey
Disease resistance rating runs from 1 (least resistant) to 9 (most resistant)
Mean resistance rating
crop barley
crop not
always sow
never sow
mildew 7.4 7.6 7.5 7.9
Scald 4.5 4.6 4.4 4.6
RLS 6.2 6.3 6.2 6.1
Page 9 of 13
Stetkiewiczetal. CABI Agriculture and Bioscience (2022) 3:23
management tools and technology, differing types of
rotation practice, fertilizer use, other (non-fungicidal)
plant protection products used would have added sub-
stantial depth to this analysis.
It is also important to bear in mind that the sample
of farmers surveyed is likely biased by discussion of
IPM as an artefact of the survey methods (which aimed
to maximise response rate), as the events at which the
Fig. 1 Regions and sub-regions of Scotland, taken from Scottish Government (2015)
Page 10 of 13
Stetkiewiczetal. CABI Agriculture and Bioscience (2022) 3:23
survey took place were also fora for discussing crop
protection, see Stetkiewicz etal. (2018) for more detail.
is does mean that survey results should be inter-
preted as a ‘best case’ scenario in terms of openness
to IPM uptake, and that the results cannot be assumed
to be representative of all Scottish farmers. However,
the use of the AAC data, which was not collected at
disease-related events allowed for further analysis of
IPM uptake to be undertaken without this bias at play,
though introduced its own sources of bias, such as
being sourced in large part from SAC client farms. As
similar results were obtained in terms of use of resist-
ant varieties and continuous barley/cereal growing,
this suggests that although the survey sample may have
been biased, results gathered regarding farm practice
still provide a generally accurate reflection of manage-
ment. Expanding this snapshot picture of farmer opin-
ion in future work could give a broader understanding
of IPM potential.
e gap between the ‘best possible’ and actual vari-
eties sown by farmers in both the stakeholder survey
and AAC work highlights that the existence of highly
resistant cultivars of spring barley which are suit-
able for distilling is not enough in itself to ensure that
disease resistant varieties are widely sown. Further
research into what is preventing the widespread uptake
of these varieties is needed to pinpoint the barriers to
uptake. Barriers to uptake of highly resistant varieties
exist, particularly for the distilling industry, where there
is a preference for varieties which malt in a consist-
ent manner and produce high spirit yields (Bringhurst
and Brosnan 2014). Using new varieties can therefore
pose a risk to their production systems. Previous work
(Vanloqueren and Baret 2008) on the under-adoption
of highly resistant varieties of wheat in Belgian systems
has found twelve key factors which prevent uptake, sev-
eral which might be of relevance to the Scottish spring
barley sector; in particular breeding objectives of seed
companies being skewed towards producing high yield-
ing varieties, and the potentially contradictory objec-
tives of companies which both develop new varieties
and the fungicides which are applied to them.
It is important for growers to have confidence in resist-
ance breeding ratings, so that when growing a highly
resistant variety, they are able to reduce input use. RLS
resistance ratings are relatively new, having been added
to the SRUC/HGCA recommended lists in only 2012. In
addition, resistance ratings were not included in the 2019
recommended list, due to concerns over consistency
(SRUC and HGCA 2019); farmers may therefore have
less confidence in the resistance rating for this disease.
However, more confidence may be felt towards other
resistance rating scores. In scald, for example, research
has confirmed that for highly resistant varieties, farmers
can spray one timefewer, removing the T1 (stem exten-
sion) fungicide application without negatively impacting
yield (Bingham etal. 2020). Work must be done, there-
fore, to not only breed highly resistant varieties which
meet key product specifications, but to elicit confidence
in farmers around disease ratings in order to alter spray-
ing practices.
Development of a wide range of highly resistant, high
yielding, and market-appropriate varieties may need to
be undertaken with the involvement of all stakeholders,
including breeders, Recommended List committees, end-
users such as maltsters, brewers, and farmers themselves,
to ensure that new varieties provide viable alternatives to
current varieties, which match the needs of both farmers
and industry.
Interdisciplinary method
While interdisciplinary research has been recognised as
being of particular use in optimising IPM (Birch et al.
2011), the use of a diverse range of data to assess IPM
potential is novel—synthesizing stakeholder engagement,
Powdery mildew Scald RLS
Fig. 2 Percent of varieties in AAC and Survey which are below the
best choice for that year (mean across all years) for the specified
disease*. *Error bars indicate standard deviation. It is worth noting
here that RLS resistance ratings are not included in the 2019 season’s
recommended list, due to concerns over consistency (SRUC and
HGCA 2019)
Fig. 3 Comparison of percentage of AAC fields and farmer survey
responses indicating consecutive barley/cereals
Page 11 of 13
Stetkiewiczetal. CABI Agriculture and Bioscience (2022) 3:23
commercial farm data, and modelling of long-term data
in a single research outcome does not yet appear to have
been reported in relation to IPM. Calls have been made
for more integration of stakeholder engagement into agri-
cultural and environmental research to improve research
quality and relevance (Gramberger etal. 2015; Lamich-
hane etal. 2016; Lefebvre etal. 2014; Murray-Rust etal.
2014; Phillipson etal. 2012), yet there remain relatively
few stakeholder surveys of pest and disease control atti-
tudes and methods amongst cereal farmers.
is project presents the first synthesis of farmer sur-
veying, long-term experimental results, and commer-
cial farm data. is gives the opportunity to assess key
questions regarding IPM uptake and the future of IPM
in this sector from multiple viewpoints, and to consider
these in an unusually integrated manner. It also allows for
some of the difficulties inherent in using long-term data-
bases collected for other purposes to be mitigated, as the
three separate sources of information can be combined
to overcome the weaknesses inherent in each. How-
ever, the difficulty of finding or creating three compara-
ble sources of data for a given farm system is not to be
underestimated. As described above, when attempting
to compare data from sources not designed to be used
in this way, it is crucial to ensure broad comparability of
the data before attempting to draw conclusions. In some
instances, it may not be feasible to acquire economic,
field experiment, and social survey data for a particular
system. However, where possible, such a synthesis can be
of use in encouraging farmers to take up IPM measures,
and policy makers to appreciate the potential benefits
of IPM, as it provides information about a range of sce-
narios and across a number of farm conditions, and takes
into account both biological and social data.
e findings of this project support the idea that there
is potential for IPM uptake to be improved in Scottish
spring barley production, thereby reducing fungicide
use without negatively effecting yield levels, based on
a combination of modelling of long-term data, stake-
holder surveying, and commercial practice data. For the
studied system, there is clear potential for reducing the
need for fungicide use through the increased sowing of
highly resistant barley varieties. Use of crop rotations
(particularly those with non-continuous cereals) could
also be substantially expanded upon in the sector, poten-
tially leading to reduced disease pressure. In addition, the
novel interdisciplinary approach taken in this work pro-
vides a template that may be useful in assessing IPM in
other contexts around the world.
Thank you to the staff of SRUC who: helped to collect and prepare the data
in the Adopt a Crop database, particularly Moyra Farquhar; helped to provide
information missing from the Field Trials database, especially Tracy Yoxall and
John Swaney; and who provided data regarding varietal disease resistance
and pathogen parameters, particularly Steve Hoad and Neil Havis. Thank you
also to the staff of SRUC and AHDB who helped with the co-ordination and
practicalities of surveying, and the farmers, agronomists, and PhD students
who volunteered their time as part of the pilot and full survey studies.
Author contributions
CT, AB, FB, RE, and SS were involved in designing the study and analysing
and interpreting the data. FB was integral for acquiring the AAC and Field
Trials data used in this work. AB, CT, and SS worked together to develop the
stakeholder survey used. SS drafted the manuscript, which was revised by CT,
AB, FB, and RE. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
This research was funded by the Scottish Government RESAS Theme 4, as part
of the lead author’s PhD thesis. The funding body had no input in the design
of the study and collection, analysis and interpretation of data or in writing the
Availability of data and materials
Some of the data described in this paper are confidential and not available for
public access. For more information about which data are confidential, and to
view the publicly available data, please see the lead author’s electronic thesis
(Stetkiewicz 2017).
Ethics approval and consent to participate
Ethics approval was waived for the farmer and agronomist stakeholder
survey based on the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences
Ethics Assessment Form via self assessment on 4 November 2015. A Scottish
Government Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division
Research Approvals Proforma for the same survey was approved on 6 Novem-
ber 2015.
Consent for publication
Not applicable.
Competing interests
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Author details
1 Crops and Soil Systems, Scotland’s Rural College, Peter Wilson Building, King’s
Buildings, W. Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG, Scotland. 2 Innogen, School
of Social and Political Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland.
3 Institute of Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University
of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland. 4 Division of Agricultural & Environmental
Sciences, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughbor-
ough, Leicestershire LE12 5RD, Scotland.
Received: 29 November 2021 Accepted: 4 April 2022
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Integrated pest management (IPM) is a valuable tool for reducing pesticide use and for pesticide resistance management. Despite the success of IPM over the last 50 yr, significant challenges remain to improving IPM delivery and adoption. We believe that insights can be obtained from the field of Social Ecological Systems (SES). We first describe the complexity of crop pest management and how various social actors influence grower decision making, including adoption of IPM. Second, we discuss how crop pest management fits the definition of an SES, including such factors as scale, dynamic complexities, critical resources, and important social–ecological interactions. Third, we describe heuristics and simulation models as tools to understand complex SES and develop new strategies. Finally, we conclude with a brief discussion of how social processes and SES techniques could improve crop pest management in the future, including the delivery of IPM, while reducing negative social and environmental impacts.
There have been many changes in the production of Scotch malt and grain whisky, both in the context of fulfilling expanding market requirements and in the context of meeting sustainability and environmental requirements such as supporting the cereal supply chain and reducing energy and water inputs, while minimising the environmental impact of the process. This chapter reviews the selection and procurement of the cereal raw materials for both malt and grain whisky and describes current technology for processing them in the distillery. This includes malt distillery mashing, as well as cooking and conversion in grain distilleries, and how these have developed in the context of modern sustainability objectives.
This paper assesses potential for Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques to reduce the need for fungicide use without negatively impacting yields. The impacts of three disease management practices of relevance to broad acre crops –disease resistance, forecasting disease pressure, and fungicide use – were analysed to determine impact on yield using a long-term field trials database of Scottish spring barley, with information from experiments across the country regarding yield, disease levels, and fungicide treatment. Due to changes in data collection practices, data from 1996 to 2010 were only available at trial level, while data from 2011 to 2014 were available at plot level. For this reason, data from 1996 to 2014 were analysed using regression models, while a subset of farmer relevant varieties was taken from the 2011–2014 data, and analysed using ANOVA, to provide additional information of particular relevance to current farm practice. While fungicide use reduced disease severity in 51.4%of a farmer-relevant subset of trials run 2011–2014, and yields were decreased by 0.62 t/ha on average, this was not statistically significant in 65% of trials. Fungicide use had only a minor impact on profit in these trials, with an average increase of 4.4% for malting and 4.7% for feed varieties, based on fungicide cost and yield difference; potential savings such as reduced machinery costs were not considered, as these may vary widely. Likewise, the1996–2014 database showed an average yield increase of 0.74 t/ha due to fungicide use, across a wide range of years, sites, varieties, and climatic conditions. A regression model was developed to assess key IPM and site factors which influenced the difference between treated and untreated yields across this 18-year period. Disease resistance, season rainfall, and combined disease severity of the three fungal diseases were found to be significant factors in the model. Sowing only highly resistant varieties and, as technology improves, forecasting disease pressure based on anticipated weather would help to reduce and optimise fungicide use.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) offers a suite of ways by which to reduce the need for pesticide use, thus minimising environmental damage and pathogen resistance build-up in crop production. Farmers and agronomists active in the Scottish spring barley sector were surveyed to determine the extent to which they currently use or are open to implementing three IPM measures – varietal disease resistance, crop rotation, and forecasting disease pressure – in order to control three important fungal diseases. Overall, the survey results demonstrate that farmers and agronomists are open to using the three IPM techniques. However, gaps between actual and perceived recent practice were large: despite over 60% of farmers stating that they sowed varieties highly resistant to Rhynchosporium or Ramularia, less than one third of reportedly sown varieties were highly resistant to these diseases. Similarly, over 80% of farmers indicated that they used crop rotations, yet 66% of farmers also reported sowing consecutive barley often/always. Further research is needed in order to understand why these gaps exist, and how they can be reduced in future in order to increase IPM uptake and optimise pesticide use.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has long been promoted as a means of reducing reliance on pesticide inputs as compared to conventional farming systems. Reduced pesticide application could be beneficial due to the links between intensive pesticide use and negative impacts upon biodiversity and human health as well as the development of pesticide resistance. Work assessing the potential of IPM in cereal production is currently limited, however, and previous findings have generally covered the subject from the perspective of either field trial data or social science studies of farmer behaviour. This thesis attempts to help to address this knowledge gap by providing a more holistic assessment of IPM in Scottish spring barley production (selected because of its dominance in Scotland’s arable production systems), in relation to three of its most damaging fungal pathogens: Rhynchosporium commune, Blumeria graminis f.sp. hordei, and Ramularia collo-cygni. Several IPM techniques of potential relevance to the sector were identified, and the prospects of three in particular – crop rotation, varietal disease resistance, and forecasting disease pressure – were assessed in several ways. Preliminary analysis of experimental field trial data collected from 2011 – 2014 across Scotland found that the majority of spring barley trials in this period (65%) did not show a statistically significant impact of fungicide treatment on yield, with the average yield increase due to fungicide application being 0.62 t/ha. This initial analysis was expanded upon using stepwise regressions of long-term (1996 – 2014) field trial data from the same dataset. Here, the difference between treated and untreated yields could be explained by disease resistance, average seasonal rainfall (whereby wetter seasons saw an increased impact of fungicide use on yield), and high combined disease severity. Stakeholder surveying provided information about current practice and attitudes towards the selected IPM techniques amongst a group of 43 Scottish spring barley farmers and 36 agronomists. Stakeholders were broadly open to taking up IPM measures on farm; sowing of disease resistant varieties was most frequently selected as the best technique in terms of both practicality and cost, though individual preference varied. However, a disparity was seen between farmer perception of their uptake of IPM and actual, self-reported uptake for both varietal disease resistance and rotation. Farmers and agronomists also overestimated the impact of fungicide use as compared with the field trials results – the majority of stakeholders believed fungicide treatment to increase yields by 1 - 2 t/ha, while the majority of 2011 – 2014 field trials had a yield difference of under 1 t/ha. The reasons behind these differences between perception and practice are not currently known. Finally, an annual survey of commercial crops, gathered from 552 farms across Scotland (from 2009 – 2015), highlighted two gaps where IPM practice could be improved upon. Firstly, relatively few of the varieties listed in the commercial crops database were highly resistant to the three diseases – 26.1% were highly resistant to Ramularia, 14.2% to Rhynchosporium, and 58.1% to mildew. Secondly, 71% of the farms included in the database had planted barley in at least two consecutive seasons, indicating that crop rotation practices could be improved. The overarching finding of this project is that there is scope for IPM uptake to be improved upon and fungicide use to be reduced while maintaining high levels of yield in Scottish spring barley production. Incorporating experimental field data, stakeholder surveying, and commercial practice data offered a unique view into the potential for IPM in this sector, and provided insights which could not have been gained through the lens of a single discipline.
Wheat yield was obtained over nine years (2007–15) of a long term experiment in a Mediterranean-type climate, to understand the effects of rotation and residue retention on rainfed wheat establishment, yield and gross margin under a no-tillage system. The three treatments were based on increasing levels of diversity in the rotation, from ‘monoculture wheat’, ‘cereal rotation’ and ‘diverse rotation’. These treatments, except monoculture wheat, were based on three phase (year) rotations with every phase presented every year. Any winter/spring cereal may be grown in the ‘cereal rotation’ treatment, while the diverse rotation was based on a wheat–legume–brassica sequence. For the period 2007–2010, residue was spread across the plot behind the harvester. The plots were split after 2010 with residue spread on half of each plot, and the other half having the residue windrowed and burnt prior to seeding, which reduced residue levels by 40–66%. This reduction in residue level had a positive effect on wheat yield in years with high levels of cereal residue and had negative, or no effect, when residue levels were relatively low (<∼3000 kg ha⁻¹). By contrast, the effect of windrow burning of canola residue on following wheat yield was negligible, even at high residue levels. Therefore the effect of crop residue on wheat yield depended on the type and amount of material.
Though concerns about the proliferation of synthetic chemicals - including pesticides - gave rise to the modern environmental movement in the early 1960s, synthetic chemical pollution has not been included in most analyses of global change. We examined the rate of change in the production and variety of pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and other synthetic chemicals over the past four decades. We compared these rates to those for well-recognized drivers of global change such as rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations, nutrient pollution, habitat destruction, and biodiversity loss. Our analysis showed that increases in synthetic chemical production and diversification, particularly within the developing world, outpaced these other agents of global change. Despite these trends, mainstream ecological journals, ecological meetings, and ecological funding through the US National Science Foundation devote less than 2% of their journal pages, meeting talks, and science funding, respectively, to the study of synthetic chemicals.