Dr Daniel Leybourne

Research Fellow

Curriculum vitae

Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour. Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences

The University of Liverpool

Integrating Visual and Context Information into a Mobile Intelligence Solution for Sustainable Management of Wheat Pests and Soil Health (Innovate UK; Farming Innovations Pathway Grant; 2021-2022; Co-I; ADAS)

Project Overview: 
Winter wheat is one of the most important UK crops but has an estimated 20% of potential lose every year due to pests. While pesticides are often applied to crops protection, their uncontrolled application can cause soil erosion and contamination. Sustainable management of pest is reliant on: accurate identification of the pest present, knowledge of the levels of pest damage that can be tolerated, and effective pest management solutions for maintaining soil health. Currently, there is no integrated in-field solution for sustainable management of wheat pest in the UK.

This project will investigate the technical feasibility of integrating visual and contextual information with advanced data fusion techniques into a mobile wheat pest management solution that offers: 1) rapid detection and quantification of wheat pest by mobile devices; 2) efficient forecasting of accepted pest thresholds for sustainable management; 3) estimation of the corresponding efficacy of a pesticide for pest control. It will explore data fusion of mobile image and contextual information from existing datasets by designing and optimising advanced broad learning techniques, and further study the accepted pest thresholds and its corresponding pesticide efficacy usage. The project will build on existing technologies, data resources and platforms from previous projects within consortium. 
Updating pest thresholds:
Economic thresholds are often used as a cornerstone in sustainable pest management practices. Thresholds estimate the level of pest pressure (i.e., total number of a specific pest in a field) above which a grower can assume that any damage caused to the crop will result in an economic yield loss. In other words, thresholds are used by growers as a guidance to identify when pest management practices should be applied.

For most insect pests the currently used thresholds are outdated, and in some cases the biological reasoning behind the threshold is unknown. Recently, we revised the economic thresholds for the Wheat Bulb Fly (Leybourne, Storer et al.,; Project Overview), this was achieved by making use of the Economic Injury Level equation. Our revision indicated that the currently used thresholds were overly cautious and that, in theory, crops could tolerate a greater level of pest infestation than previously thought.

As a component of this current project, the Arable Entomology and Crop Physiology Teams at ADAS are conducting a theoretical review and update of the thresholds for other important pests of wheat, including Gout Fly, Orange Wheat Blossom Midge, Lemon Wheat Blossom Midge, and Cereal Aphids. 


Advances in pest risk assessment techniques focusing on invertebrate pests of European outdoor crops

MW Ramsden, S Telling, DJ Leybourne, N Alonso, S White, N Georgantzis

Advances in monitoring of native and invasive insect pests of crops, M Fountain, T Pope, Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing, 2023 Apr 24

Online decision support systems, remote sensing and artificial intelligence applications for wheat pest management

DJ Leybourne, M Ramsden, S White, R Wang, H Huang, C Xie, P Yang

Advances in understanding insect pests affecting wheat and other cereals, S Eigenbrode, A Rashed, Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing, 2023, pp. 411-444


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