Laboratory for Phytosanitary Diagnostics and Forecasts

Delegation of the ALL-RUSSIAN INSTITUTE 
OF PLANT PROTECTION has visited the Agricultural Reserarch Centre of Finland on 18-19 October 2000. One of the report read on the meeting has been devoted to pest forecasting in Russia. See the lecture below.

Photos by Jarmo Holopainen


(C) I. Grichanov, 19/10/2000                       Last updated: 21 October 2000


In North Western territory of Russia agriculture coexists with natural forests, lakes, and coastline of Finish bay of Baltic Sea. Many of environmental problems we are dealing with are common to all Baltic countries community.In particular Leningrad region is one of agricultural production zones of Russia.Major cultures are vegetable crops (mostly concentrated around big industrial centres like St.-Petersburg and others), potatoesand cereals (winter rye , barley, oats).Unfortunately, modern intensive technologies in agriculture can cause soil erosion and pollution of fresh waters. To meet nature conservation requirements and to increase output of high quality agricultural production is only possible with optimal system of plant protection.Within our Institutions the problem of pesticide pollution is studied in it very beginning, as in sustainable Plant Protection Systems unnecessary pesticide treatments will be eliminated.To minimize the use of pesticides will require better knowledge of insect population dynamics and tile epidemiology of virus and fungal diseases as well as economic threshold values. Such information is essential when developing pest management strategies and in decision-making related to pesticide treatments, etc. . Other important step in minimizing of pesticide press in sustainable Plant Protection Systems will be use of unsusceptible varieties of potatoes, cereals and other cultures of Russia and Finland breeding in agriculture .Essential is also pesticides residuals monitoring in agricultural production. So, study of ecosystem function, use of unsusceptible varieties, use of more environmental friendly pesticides of new generation, monitoring of pesticide residuals in agricultural production are needed for overcoming major problems of agricultural pests and diseases outbreaks, pollution and soil erosion.

Over the last 10 years in Russia there has been increased interest in developing forecasting methods as well as in developing an effective warning system for pests and diseases.It is essential to implement their positive experience for lager territories within Baltic Region.All modern progressive features ofsustainable plant protection system in agriculture will be used in education process.


The Forecasting and Warning Service in the USSR was established in 1957. This service was organized for work with large collective and state farms. In general system still function within old structure. Phytosanitary information from collective farms is concentrated in District Plant Protection Stations, that are responsible for information from the whole district. Higher level is Plant Protection Station in region (oblast), responsible for information from several districts.Regional Plant Protection Station gets information from all districts, belonging to region and, when it is necessary,agronomists inspects fields in the districts, helps with pests and diseases monitoring .Regional Plant Protection Stations prepare the forecast for major crops and diseases in the region.For instance, in Leningrad region plant protection procedures are planned by Regional Plant Protection Station, that has branch stations in all districts of Leningrad region. 

Experience ofFinland shows that centralized systemfor Pest Monitoring is convenient and can serve adequately for the needs of individual farming as well.That is also convenient in solving existing environmental problems. North Western zone of Russia, and Finland have many of the same pest and disease problems in different crops. 

In view of the great similarities in agricultural conditions between North Western zone of Russiaand in particular Leningrad region, (administrative centre is Saint Petersburg) and Finland,there should be great potential for successfully adapting Finnish forecasting and warning systems for use in Leningrad region and in North-West region of Russia in general.


Leningrad region (oblast') was formed in 1927. It's territory is 83,9 thousand square kilometers. The total arable land - 423,8 thousand ha. In 1991 Land reforms were started. Now there are 216 state agricultural enterprises and joint-stock companies, 6026 private farms (the size of private farms averages as little as 9 ha), and 241,3 thousand small holdings. The mains crops cultivated in Leningrad region are: cereals, potatoes, vegetables, fodder crops, perennial grasses. 

The most important pests and diseases of various crops are as follows:

Winter cereals:

Pests: rodents (Microtus arvalis, M. rossiaemeridionalis), different aphids (Rhopalosiphum padi, Sitobion avenae, Metopolophium dirchodum), frit fly (Oscinella frit, O.pusilla

Diseases: Very destructive diseases include root rots (caused by Bipolar sorokiniana, Fusarium spp. ) and leaf spots (caused by Septoria nodorum). Great yield losses are caused by powdery mildew (Erysiphe graminis), especially in winter cereals; brown rusts (Puccinia recondita), brown dwarf rust (Puccinia hordei), and some years also snow mould (caused by Fusarium nivale).

Spring cereals:

Pests: aphids mentioned above.

Diseases: Leaf spot diseases on barley (caused by Rhynchosporium secalis, Drechslera teres, D. graminea. Crown rust on oats: (Puccinia coronifera).



diamondback moth, pierids, cabbage flies, flea beetles.


More then 20 sorts of potatoes are cultivated in Leningrad region.

Pests: Colorado beetles (Leptinotarsa decemlineata)

Diseases: Potato virus diseases are transmitted by aphids (Macrosiphon euphorbiae and Myzus persicae). The main potato viruses are potato virus Y(PVY) and potato virus x (PVX), causing mosaic symptoms; sometimes S and M viruses are found. In last years diseases causing by viroid organisms are found too. 

The most destructive disease in potatoes is late blight( caused by Phytophthora infestans).Black scab (Rhizoctonia solani), ordinary scab (Actinomyces spp.) are also an important problem. Early blight of potato ( Alternaria solani) and diseases caused by bacteria, e.g. Erwinia carotovora var. atroseptica, Clavibacter sepidonicum are comparatively widespread.

Graminea grasses:

Pests in the seeds fields: Glyphipterix simpliciella, Oscinella spp., Rhopolosiphum padi, Rhopalomyzus lonicerae, Metopolophium dirchodum, Leptoptera dolabrata, Lygus rugulipennis, Stenodema calcaratum. Diseases: Leaf spots(caused by Drechslera dictyoides, D. bromi, Ascochyta spp., Mastigosporium calvum, M. album, Selenophoma donacis, Fusoma triseptatum), ergot (Claviceps purpurea), disease of stems (caused by Epichloe typhina), powdery mildew (Erysiphe graminis).


Pest in the seeds fields - Aphion apricans

Diseases: crown rot of clover (caused by Sclerotinia trifiliorum), root rot( Fusarium spp.). 

Oilseed rape

Diseases: Sclerotinia stem rot, caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Lib.) de Bary, is economically important disease on spring sown oilseed rape. . Abundant precipitation during spring and early summer often causes high incidence of Sclerotinia stem rot. Grey mould (Botrytis cinerea)on rape seed, is an important disease in North Western zone of Russia. The spread of disease depend on a number of risk factors.Plant residuals, containing mycelium or sclerotia of fungusmakes the source of infection.. 


Grey mould (Botrytis cinerea), is a serious disease on strawberry plantations in Leningrad region. The spread of disease strongly depend on weather factor, while high plants density plantations favours further infection.


The Regional Plant Protection Station at Saint Petersburg contains about 10 small forecasting and diagnostic stations, evenly located in Leningrad region. Forecasting specialists, each using identical methods, inspect fields of all the main crops. They carry out field phenological observations and search for early symptoms of diseases and signs of impending pest outbreaks. Specialists from the Forecasting and Diagnostic Laboratory transfer information to plant protection agronomists in the districts.

At the moment this service provides mainly diagnostic and warning information, but there is a great need of additional information and implementation of methods in plant protection. 

Existing system is mainly oriented on chemical methods of plant protection. New farmers, some of whom have no agricultural education, are not familiar with effective pest management practices and can use pesticides inadequately.To safe environment within Baltic Region, it is, consequently, essential to develop new forecasting methods and an effective warning and information systems. Farmers needs good advice so that they can, when possible, avoid the unnecessary use of chemicals and got familiar with ways of sustainable agriculture.

Improving of forecasting methods in Laboratory for Phytosanitary Monitoring and Forecasting VIZR, Russia

-the model on rodent densities fluctuation in modern agricultural systems and their impact in orchards and winter cereals 

-Development of technology of monitoring of cereal aphids in Leningrad region:

-1) verification of economic threshold for cereal aphids as a major pest on cereals

-2) estimation of species composition of main cereal aphids entomophages and of their thresholds density, that can significantlyreduce aphids populations

-3) selection of chemical means of plant protection less harmful to entomophages and environment

-favourable conditions for spread of potato late blight are specified on the basis ofweather data, that is got with the help of Austrian automatic meteorological station KMS-P. 

-Improving of integrative protection of vegetable crops on the basis of pheromone monitoring

-diamondback moth (Plutella maculipennis) migrationis studied as a factor of population dynamicand mass breeding of this moths in Northern parts of its habitats . Pheromone traps, provided by Estonian Flora Co are used for pest monitoring.The ways of pest migration in Southern countries (Ukraine, Belorussia) , Northern-Western zone of Russia and Scandinavian countries is to be studied.


The Institute of Plant Protection is responsible for forecasting and warning methodology in Russia. The main objectives of the institute are to develop and to implement methods for forecasting populations of different pests and diseases in various crops to limit the use of chemicals in agriculture to cases where there is an economically justifiable need.

It is also important to develop an effective warning systems for pests and diseases. The Institute of Plant Protection is responsible for coordination within Russia, but the routine work is carried out by regional plant protection officers at the Agricultural Ministry. A number of methods have been developed or are under development for various crops:

-A method to forecast codling moth population on apple based on weather data (accumulated day-degrees) and trap catches has been used for many years. The method makes it possible to predict where and when pesticide applications will be necessary.

-Predictions of risk for spread of potato virus are partly based on trap catches and a simulation model developed at the Institute of Plant Protection. The proved vector for Russia is Rh. padi. The forecast for spread ofvirus diseases is made by taking into account the vector efficiency of a given aphid species along with the timing of its main flight period and the number of individuals migrating. The model input includes proportions of virus sources, the efficiency of various aphid species as vectors and mature plant resistance 

-Forecasting methods for various aphid species have been developed which are based on color trap catches and winter egg counts. Rh.padi is the most important aphid species on cereals, and S. avenae is also of some importance in north-western Russia. In Russia suction traps are used for about 5 years to relate numbers of autumn and spring migrating aphids to the intensity of attacks on cereals and other crops, partly to develop the capability for making long-term forecasts.

-Forecasting method for potato late blight is based upon weather data and susceptible of different varieties.

-A variety of other forecasting methods have been developed or are under development for a number of pests and diseases.

Co-operation of Russian and Finnish Plant Protection systems will result in more precise Pest Monitoring and Forecasting for both countries. An exchange of information will help in forecasting of aphids attacks on cereals andforecast of transmission of aphid-borne viruses.That willhelp to make more precise long-termed forecast both in Russia and in Finland. The co-operation will also help to clarify ways of diamondback moth migration .If vector of pest migration through Russia to Scandinavian countries exists, the information will be essential for both countries.Cooperation between Institutions in Finland and Russia will help to compare race composition of Phytophthora infestance population for Russia and Finland, to improve forecasting methods for Russia.


It has become clear that many aspects of the Finnish findings can be applied to the situation in Leningrad region. Therefore it should be worthwhile evaluating modified versions of the Finnish warning systems and forecasting methods for use in Leningrad region and in North-West region of Russia in general. Corresponding information systems must be introduced in order to effectively make use of their methods.

The main goal of this project is to establish integrated pest management programs in Russian agriculture, primarily in an effort to minimize the adverse impacts of pesticides on the flora, fauna, drinking water and environment.Whilst the use of pesticides is warranted, the type of pesticide is to be carefully selected, application rates, timing, and mode of application have to be strictly determined .Unsusceptible varieties of plants are to be used widely within Baltic region, all agricultural production must be monitored for pesticide residuals. That will insure minimization of hazards to human health and environment.

To reach this goal, effective forecasting and warning systems and information systems as well as technical and economic support will be needed.