ACE1022 : Crop Pests

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
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion27:0014:00Preparation of practical reports (x2)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion111:3011:30Revision for and completion of Semester 2 examination
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical13:003:00Disease assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork23:006:00Weeds identification Pesticides sprayers
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study125:3025:30General reading and background research on module topics
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study120:0020:00Compilation 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