Cabbage stem flea beetle

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csfbSMART – ‘Sharing Management and Agronomy Research Tools’ – aims to test management methods and tools for use against Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle on UK farms, with oilseed rape growers provided with information on how to implement and assess these management strategies over the next three years.

csfbSMART connects two research projects investigating CSFB control. ‘Reducing the impact of CSFB on OSR in the UK’ aims to improve understanding of the pest’s biology and investigate alternative management methods. It is led by ADAS and Harper Adams University and funded by AHDB and a consortium of industry organisations. The second, ‘CSFB: evaluating management of oilseed rape on-farm for maximum margins’, led by NIAB and funded by Defra, aims to test these management methods on a wider scale, encouraging growers to carry out their own trials and assess their effectiveness.

The area of winter oilseed rape in the UK has declined significantly as a result of the withdrawal of neonicotinoid seed dressings that controlled cabbage stem flea beetle in the crop. Without effect chemical control the pest has become increasingly problematic, often leading to complete crop failure. Its future management will be reliant on a range of agronomic approaches.

The first stage of csfbSMART involves current, past and future oilseed rape growers participating in on-farm monitoring and reporting on current agronomic programmes in combatting flea beetle.

The second stage will support on-farm trials of alternative management methods to implement robust evaluation of practices and monitoring approaches.  This will include supporting effective interaction and learning between researchers, farmers and industry partners, through conferences, webinars, open days and workshops, to develop recommended bundles of monitoring and management approaches that are both effective and practicable.

csfbSMART is a unique, one-off, opportunity to draw together everybody’s knowledge and experience in a coordinated and sustained effort. From 2021 to 2024, csfbSMART will collate, assess and share information freely between growers and researchers, learn from successes and failures and work with farmers and agronomists to select innovations for detailed assessment through on-farm evaluation and research investigation.

csfbSMART will roll out monitoring tools to build a national and seasonal picture of the pressures of cabbage stem flea beetle larvae and adults within oilseed rape crops and the wider farming environment. It will enable farmers and agronomists to develop their own tailored strategies, regularly updated and supported by the latest research, and share results to create more robust solutions.


The project is co-ordinated by Colin Peters

News and resources

Results, reports and posters will be posted here when available. Check the @niabgroup twitter feed for the latest #csfbSMART news

2022 posters - three posters covering the lifecycle and management of cabbage stem flea beetle

2021 poster - Join the fight against cabbage stem flea beetle

Soil moisture video

Need to work out your soil moisture? For a simple method, check out our short how to video, complete with downloadable spreadsheet to help you work out your own soil moisture.

Stem larvae counting made easy

Meeting summarising findings from the national csfb Stem larval counts

Press releases

Arable industry joins together to fight cabbage stem flea beetle - press release (5/2/21)

The consortium

csfbSMART partners include AHDB, NIAB, ADAS, Harper Adams University and Rothamsted Research. The taskforce also includes Agrovista, AICC, BASF, Bayer CropScience, Cotton Farm Consultancy Ltd, DSV, Elsoms, Frontier, Innovative Farmers, KWS UK, Limagrain, LS Plant Breeding, RAGT, Sentry Ltd, Syngenta, Tuckwell Farms, United Oilseeds and Yara. Funding is provided by AHDB and Defra.