Investigation of farming systems on integrated crop protection in cereals: The work of The Game Conservancy, UK.
The entomological studies of the Game Conservancy began in the I9601 s when work to assess the effects of modern agriculture on wild gamebird populations began. Interest in gamebird ecology, stimulated many studies to be carried out. As a result, long-term monitoring of the status of insects in cereal fields began in 1969 and has been undertaken annually
since that time.
Autecological studies of non-target arthropod species have been carried out on both cereal aphid predators eg. Carabidae and Staphylinidae and on important species of prey for gamebird chicks eg. Chrysomelidae. Work has begun to screen the spectrum of the insecticidal activity of pesticides used in cereal fields, especially foliar fungicides against non-target, beneficial arthropods.
Management of crop and non-crop habitats to encourage cereal aphid natural enemies or chick food species, or both has been carried out. This includes the provision of overwintering refuges in field boundaries and favourable conditions on the crop floor by not using certain herbicides or by undersowing. Restricting the use of pesticides on cereal field headlands has produced weedy, insecticide free, areas at the crop margin. As a result, an increase has been observed in numbers of beneficial insects especially phytophagous species (and partridges).