Rothamsted Wheat – a question

So I’ve read the Sense about Science Q&A, and a few of the articles going round, but have yet to see anyone ask the following question:

If you’ve got a farmer who sows aphid repelling wheat alongside a farmer not sowing aphid repelling wheat, where are all the extra aphids going to go?

In short, if this thing works, who is it actually going to help? At least with pesticides they die (and pesticides aren’t the only way to go, before I’m labelled a monster). I assume this stuff isn’t going to end up cheap! Not patenting something isn’t the same as not making money out of it.

Will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow, looking to twitter to keep me updated as I’ll be in a library.


2 thoughts on “Rothamsted Wheat – a question

  1. By reducing the area the aphids recognise as a host plant, the ability for them to settle and build up populations will be reduced – so there won’t be so many. It would be like having a non-host crop (like oilseed rape for example) planted instead. Some of the aphids might go to grasses, or to other fields as they would normally.

    • Thank you very much for taking the time to explain this to me. Comparing it to a non-host crop certainly helped, but doesn’t the problem still stand? And isn’t it the case that the amount of damage caused by aphids increases with their number? So you’ll end up with pockets of larger populations of aphids in non-repellant crops causing more significant damage. Obviously this is all hypothetical, it’s all a long long way from entering the market. Thanks again.

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