Nathalie Key, AHDB Knowledge Exchange Manager for Protected Edibles, Vine Crops, and Mushrooms has warned growers to remain vigilant in their avoidance of Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus (ToBRFV).
She added that, with six confirmed outbreaks of ToBRFV in the UK since 2019, it is “crucial to make preparations to identify, manage and eradicate it in case there is an outbreak.”
The highly infectious virus, which was first identified in Israel in 2014, remains a major concern for commercial tomato and pepper growers across the world. The virus has the potential to cause significant economic impact to businesses via crop loss and the associated costs with necessary increases in levels of hygiene and biosecurity to mitigate and manage the virus.
AHDB recently commissioned Dave Kaye (ADAS-RSK) to examine the experience of three UK growers who faced an outbreak of ToBRFV on their sites. The goal was to explore the first-hand experience of growers and help us progress our understanding of the nature of the virus, including patterns of spread and symptoms.
Learnings from their experiences has helped to build on current best practice recommendations which can be found in a report on the AHDB website.
Among its key recommendations, the report stresses that growers regularly update their biosecurity and hygiene protocols; maintain close contact with seed suppliers, ensure staff are trained to monitor and identify symptoms of the disease, and not to wait for PHSI statutory surveillance. The report also provides guidance on removal of infected material, cleaning and disinfection.
Photo Caption: ToBRFV symptoms