Archived SCEPTRE website

SCEPTRE was a collaborative project that underpinned UK horticultural crop production by focusing on the development and delivery of applied research on high priority disease, pest and weed problems in fruit and vegetable crops in order to support approval of new products and devise integrated pest management (IPM) programmes. The SCEPTRE conference allowed growers to see the outcome and impact of this four year programme and understand what HDC is doing to strengthen the future of UK food security. The conference took place on the 24 February 2015. Researchers, agronomist and growers from across the horticultural sectors were in attendance to share their experiences with IPM and explore what the future will bring.


Click here to view the full PowerPoint presentations from the day.


SCEPTRE Conference 2015 


Devised by AHDB Horticulture in consultation with growers and researchers, the SCEPTRE project (Sustainable Crop & Environment Protection – Targeted Research for Edibles) aims to address key gaps in crop production, especially those arising from loss of current pesticides due to changing EU legislation. SCEPTRE will deliver applied research to help secure label and off-label approvals for new pesticides and biopesticides, and develop sustainable IPM programmes for use on edible crops.


Three cross-sector teams of crop protection specialists will focus on the pest, disease and weed problems having the greatest financial impact on the profitability of crop production and where the likelihood of achieving a crop protection solution is good.  The work programme will be flexible, adjusting as necessary to take account of significant new pest problems or pesticide gaps as they arise. The first two years of the SCEPTRE project have identified many novel products with good potential for UK growers. In year 3 some of these products will be investigated in more detail and as part of specific programmes. Some year 3 trials are also looking at the IPM compatibility of these novel products. For a full list of 2013 trials please click hereSCEPTRE was co-funded by Defra through the HortLINK scheme and is widely supported by industry.


More about SCEPTRE


The aim of this new four-year HortLINK project (HL01109) (HDC project CP 77) is to deliver applied research on high priority disease, pest and weed problems in fruit and in vegetable crops in order to support approval of new products and devise integrated pest management (IPM) programmes.



The UK horticulture industry is a core deliverer of government policy on food security and health, and is essential for the sustainable provision of safe, healthy fruit and vegetables for consumers.  Consumers are increasingly concerned about the methods by which food is produced and this may deter some people from eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables. In response, food retailers demand ever more stringent reductions in pesticide use on food crops which challenges UK growers to fulfill their role in contributing to a secure food supply.  


Growers rely on synthetic pesticides in order to grow quality produce in a cost-effective manner.  Yet the availability and scope for use of pesticides to control diseases, pests and weeds in UK horticultural crops are under pressure from legislation (pesticide and environmental), climate change, the development of resistance in target organisms and market requirements (eg reduced pesticide inputs and maximum residue levels).


Crop protection companies continue to produce new, lower environmental impact actives for use on major world crops.  Several promising fungicides and insecticides and a few herbicides are in development.  But the number of new actives that become registered for use on edible horticultural crops is relatively small, largely due to the small size of the markets in relation to development costs.


Biopesticides and biological control agents provide alternative control methods and have many established uses for pest control in protected crops with others under development.  However they are largely unexploited on outdoor crops. In addition, no biopesticides exist for weed control and there are very few for disease control.


Faced with a declining armoury of chemical pesticides, due especially to changing EU legislation, there is an urgent need to identify new pesticides suitable for use on edible crops, especially any classed as safer pesticides. The role and position of biopesticides within control programmes also needs to be determined. Finally, IPM programmes utilising new pesticides, and biopesticides and other effective replacement solutions where available, need to be devised and tested.




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