Predicting light leaf spot (Pyrenopeziza brassicae) risk on winter oilseed rape (Brassica napus) in England and Wales, using survey, weather and crop information
Fitt, Bruce D.L.
Data from surveys of winter oilseed rape crops in England and Wales in growing seasons with harvests in 1987-99 were used to construct statistical models to predict, in autumn (October), the incidence of light leaf spot caused by Pyrenopeziza brassicae on winter oilseed rape crops the following spring (March/April), at both regional and individual crop scales. Regions (groups of counties) with similar seasonal patterns of incidence (percentage of plants affected) of light leaf spot were defined by using principal coordinates analysis on the survey data. At the regional scale, explanatory variables for the statistical models were regional weather (mean summer temperature and mean monthly winter rainfall) and survey data for regional light leaf spot incidence (percentage of plants with affected pods) in July of the previous season. At the crop scale, further explanatory variables were crop cultivar (light leaf spot resistance rating), sowing date (number of weeks before/after 1 September), autumn fungicide use and light leaf spot incidence in autumn. Risk of severe light leaf spot (> 25% plants affected) in a crop in spring was also predicted, and uncertainty in predictions was assessed. The models were validated using data from spring surveys of winter oilseed rape crops in England and Wales from 2000 to 2003, and reasons for uncertainty in predictions for individual crops are discussed.