Mind the gap: Plant protection

Last changed: 03 September 2021

This project examines both the current state of research regarding plant protection in Sweden and what knowledge gaps there are and how new research findings on plant protection are communicated to farmers via advisers. Photo: Jenny Svennås-Gillner, SLU.

Plant protection includes, among other things, knowledge about plant pests and how to prevent and control these. To increase primary production, knowledge and understanding of the limitations of cultivation systems is required. Plant pests can greatly limit the yield of crops by reducing the quantity and quality of the harvest.

Achieving more ecologically, economically and socially sustainable agriculture and at the same time being able to produce enough food for a growing population requires a holistic approach to plant protection. In a first part of the project, this is addressed by analysing the knowledge base and identifying knowledge gaps in plant protection with the help of systematic reviews. The method involves making systematic searches in scientific databases and in other literature to capture knowledge and at the same time avoid unintentional influences in the selection as articles are included based on predetermined criteria. The method is well established in both medicine and ecology. In this way, the project identifies the latest research findings and can contribute to effective and scientifically based solutions to the challenges facing food production and support the development of future research issues.

A serious limitation today is also that new findings are not translated into practical recommendations in an effective way in agriculture. The purpose of the second part of the project is to use established models for knowledge transfer to understand and describe limitations in the advisory chain concerning plant protection in Swedish agriculture. The goal is to find out how to convey this knowledge to the farm level in order to effectively implement it in production and contribute to sustainable food production.

The project focuses on the most important field-grown crops for Sweden and their diseases.