Skip to main content


ACE1022 : Crop Pests

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Paul Bilsborrow
  • Lecturer: Dr Kirsty McInnes, Dr Dave George, Professor Giles Budge
  • Other Staff: Professor Neil Boonham
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To provide students with an introduction to crop pests. To introduce students to the significance, biology, and diversity of crop pests, how they cause damage, and the principles of their control. The module provides a study of the major insect, fungal and weed pests which affect crop production. The biology, life-cycle and principles of control of these pests via chemical and other means are evaluated.

Outline Of Syllabus

Animal Pests
Ecological background; why some animals are pests. Types of plant damage and factors affecting pest abundance. Economic thresholds. Methods of pest control. Biology and control of major pests of cereals and grasses, basic forage crops, vegetables and oilseed rape, potato, carrots, legume forage and vegetable crops, and stored products. Role of insects in spreading plant virus diseases.
The problem of weeds; importance of weeds as pests in crop production; crop losses due to weeds.
Weed identification.
Weed biology: growth cycles; seed prolificacy; seed dispersal, dormancy, and survival; periodicity of germination.
Competitiveness of different weed species, critical periods of weed competition and control.
The role of weed and crop biology in the development of weed control strategies.
Nature and importance of plant diseases.
How pathogens cause plant diseases and how they spread.
Methods and principles of disease control.
Diseases caused by protist (lower) fungi, ascomycetes, basidiomycetes, bacteria, and viruses

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials120:306:00Online lecture materials via Canvas
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion116:0016:00Preparation and completion of weed control
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion112:0012:00Alternative end of module assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture91:009:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00small group teaching
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork13:003:00Field Trip
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study149:0049:00Compilation of notes and lecture follow up
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide an understanding of the range of crop pests of importance in British Agriculture. Through an understanding of their life-cycle and interaction with their hosts control methods will be evaluated. Practical classes will enhance the ability of students to recognise major-weed and fungal pathogens.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A70N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio2M20Weed portfolio - 12 pages
Practical/lab report2M10Disease lab report - 1000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The exam assesses knowledge and understanding of material relating to each section of the module i.e. animal pests, weeds and pathogens.
The weed and fungal reports assess the collection, identification and analysis of range of arable weeds and fungal pathogens in the UK.

Reading Lists