RESEARCHER MAKES INTERNET APPEAL AFTER COVID-19 STYMIES HER RESEARCH
Farmers needed for short survey on beetles
A Rothamsted PhD student whose research into pest-eating beetles has been badly disrupted by the lockdown is appealing for farmers to help with her project.
Kelly Jowett, who is co-supervised by the University of Reading, had planned to run a series of farmer workshops this year – but has instead been forced online to seek farmer opinions on the benefits of ground beetles in crop protection.
She said: “With increasing restrictions on pesticides, and public opposition to chemical use, agricultural researchers are looking for new pest management options. Paramount to this is ensuring these are effective and applicable to real world situations.”
Kelly added she is hoping to discover which farm management practices can encourage those ground beetle species that have a proven role in crop protection, whilst being favourable to farmer’s preferences.
She has set up an online survey that takes less than 20 minutes to complete and will be appealing for help across social media using the hashtag #BeneficialBeetlesSurvey
“I had originally planned farmer workshops to accompany the questionnaire, which may not be possible in my PhD timescale due to COVID19. So I’m humbly requesting as many farmers as possible take part or help spread the word, so that I’m able to collect and analyse meaningful data,” says Kelly.
The survey needs input from all sectors, as ground beetles are beneficial on all farm types.
Studies have shown that ground beetles eat a range of important crop pests and can control the populations of livestock pests too.
Ground beetles also support biodiverse habitats and provide food resources for threatened farmland wild birds.
If you wish to take part, the Beneficial Beetle Survey is accessible here.
About Rothamsted Research
Rothamsted Research is the longest-running agricultural research institute in the world. We work from gene to field with a proud history of ground-breaking discoveries, from crop treatment to crop protection, from statistical interpretation to soils management. Our founders, in 1843, were the pioneers of modern agriculture, and we are known for our imaginative science and our collaborative influence on fresh thinking and farming practices.
Through independent science and innovation, we make significant contributions to improving agri-food systems in the UK and internationally. In terms of the institute’s economic contribution, the cumulative impact of our work in the UK was calculated to exceed £3000 million a year in 20151. Our strength lies in our systems approach, which combines science and strategic research, interdisciplinary teams and partnerships.
Rothamsted is also home to three unique resources. These National Capabilities are open to researchers from all over the world: The Long-Term Experiments, Rothamsted Insect Survey and the North Wyke Farm Platform.
We are strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with additional support from other national and international funding streams, and from industry. We are also supported by the Lawes Agricultural Trust (LAT).
For more information, visit https://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/; Twitter @Rothamsted
1Rothamsted Research and the Value of Excellence: A synthesis of the available evidence, by Séan Rickard (Oct 2015)
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.
Funded by government, BBSRC invested £469 million in world-class bioscience in 2016-17. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
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The Lawes Agricultural Trust, established in 1889 by Sir John Bennet Lawes, supports Rothamsted Research’s national and international agricultural science through the provision of land, facilities and funding. LAT, a charitable trust, owns the estates at Harpenden and Broom's Barn, including many of the buildings used by Rothamsted Research. LAT provides an annual research grant to the Director, accommodation for nearly 200 people, and support for fellowships for young scientists from developing countries. LAT also makes capital grants to help modernise facilities at Rothamsted, or invests in new buildings.