Welcome to Rob Jacobson Consultancy

RJC is a specialist consultancy providing award winning services to the horticultural industry.

We focus on integrated pest management (IPM) and are one of very few organisations who specialise in the implementation of whole IPM programmes. This is achieved via direct consultancy, training and contract R&D.

We approach each new project by assembling a unique team of appropriately qualified associates. Past projects have involved various combinations of growers, consultants, supply companies, researchers and academics.

Read on to learn more about our recent activities and successes:

Recent Activities

Invertebrate Workmates

Dr Jacobson was admitted to the Fellowship of the Royal Entomological Society (RES) in 1998. As a Fellow, his signature is held within the hallowed register at RES HQ (along with Charles Darwin!). To commemorate 25 years as a Fellow, Rob has written an article celebrating how applied entomology has benefited commercial food production focusing on the UK’s protected edible crop industry. The article, entitled ‘Invertebrate Workmates’ is being published in the RES journal [Antenna, Vol 47(4), 180-186].

Dr Jacobson steps down from the TGA Technical Committee

Dr Jacobson has retired from the British Tomato Growers’ Association Technical Committee after many years of continuous service. He began working with tomato growers in the early 1980s and became a formal member of the Technical Committee in 2005. He has delivered 23 presentations to the industry’s annual conferences as well as chairing the event on one occasion. Rob will continue to work directly with growers in other respects. Go to: Testimonials »

Investigating poor fruit set in commercial tomatoes

In 2014, Natural England withdrew permission to use ‘non-native’ sub-species of Bombus terrestris in unscreened glasshouses – a decision which has caused considerable difficulty and financial loss for British tomato Growers. Over a 4-year period, Dr Jacobson led a specialist independent team, funded by the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board, studying the evidence upon which that decision was based as well as practical and financial implications for the tomato industry. A peer-reviewed paper Chandler et al (2019) concluded that there was insufficient reliable and consistent evidence to support claims that the use of such bumblebees was harmful to wild populations of B. terrestris in the UK. Furthermore, the genetics of B. terrestris are now known to be complex with existing hybridisation between ‘sub-species’ AHDB Knowledge Library. As a consequence, Natural England have been asked to review the new evidence with a view to revising their 2014 decision.

Isonet-T pheromone dispenser

Parthenogenesis in Tuta absoluta

Studies led by Dr Jacobson in commercial tomato crops in 2017 using the pheromone-based mating disruption technique against Tuta absoluta were hugely successful. Some British growers, who had suffered serious damage up to that point, eradicated the pest and have since remained completely free from infestation. However, some growers have reported a loss of efficacy of this technology and there were concerns that use of the pheromone may have selected for parthenogenesis (i.e. the ability to produce offspring without mating). A paper is now available on-line which reports a small, but significant, increase in parthenogenesis, as well as changes in other life history traits, associated with the use of the pheromone. [Charles Grant, Rob Jacobson & Chris Bass (2021). Pest Management Science, 77: 8, p3445-3449].

Ground-breaking research on insecticide resistance in Tuta absoluta

A paper on the evolution of multiple-insecticide resistance in UK populations of T. absoluta is now available on-line. The studies revealed emerging resistance to two of the most important insecticides used in UK tomato IPM programmes. [Grant, Jacobson, Ilias, Berger, Vasakis, Bielza, Zimmer, Williamson, ffrench-Constant, Vontas, Roditakis & Bass (2019). Pest Management Science 75: 8, 2079-2085].

Where do tomatoes come from?

RJC’s latest recruit, Professor Noah Barnett, went on a fact-finding mission to discover how tomatoes are grown. His in-depth report is attached Read more ».
[Noah would like to thank Richard Bezemer and his colleagues at Jan Bezemer & Sons, Stokesley for hosting the visit].

Pollination issues in UK tomato crops

British tomato growers have been using commercially reared bumblebees to pollinate their crops since 1989. The benefits had become vital to cost effective production. In 2014, Natural England withdrew permission to use non-native sub-species of Bombus terrestris in unscreened glasshouses. The switch to a native sub-species proved to be far from the reliable experience to which growers had become accustomed. The Tomato Growers’ Association asked Dr Jacobson to organise an in-depth survey to gather more information about the current situation. (Go to Testimonials).
The research has now progressed to practical studies in experimental and commercial crops. Read more ».

Keynote presentation at prestigious IPM event

Prof Toby Bruce (central in picture and current Convenor of the AAB Biocontrol and IPM group) said “We were delighted to have Dr Jacobson attend our 2019 AAB IPM conference as a special Keynote Speaker. Rob played a leading role in initiating and establishing this conference series, so it was an honour to have him. Further comment from Prof Bruce and the abstract of the paper are available. (Go to Courses & Conferences)

Nesidiocoris tenuis: Grower awareness factsheet

Both adults and nymphs of this non-indigenous mirid bug are predators and they can make a useful contribution to IPM. However, in the absence of insect or mite prey, they turn their attention to tomato plants causing serious damage. This factsheet increases grower awareness of the potential problem as well as helping to distinguish it from the related indigenous predator, Macrolophus pygmaeus. (Go to Information Sheets).

Tuta absoluta: Mating disruption trials spectacularly successful

Working on behalf of the British Tomato Growers’ Association in 2017, Dr Jacobson organised trials with the novel mating disruption product, Isonet-T. The studies, which were funded by AHDB and hosted by Jan Bezemer & Sons, were hugely successful. The technique was immediately adopted by many other UK tomato growers with equally spectacular results. (Go to Testimonials)

Incorporating biopesticides into IPM programmes: Theory into practice

Dr Jacobson was invited to deliver a paper on this subject at the AHDB’s ‘A.M.B.E.R.’ conference on 26/2/19. The overall aim of that event was to improve the performance of biopesticides in the production of ornamental crops. The paper was well received and he was invited to give similar presentations at events for the Herb industry (5/9/19) and Protected Edibles / Soft Fruit industries (10/12/19). Further events for outdoor crops are planned for 2020.

Archived Activities of Interest

Dr Jacobson joins AHDB Biopesticides & ‘Key Gaps’ projects

Dr Jacobson is a consultant to two important AHDB cross sector projects. The first, named AMBER, is examining the application and management of biopesticides for efficacy and reliability. The second, named Sceptre Plus, aims to secure label and off-label approvals for new and safer pesticides for use on edible crops. Follow the AHDB website for regular updates on progress.

Enhancing biocontrol establishment

Experimental work has demonstrated how the use of carefully presented supplementary food can speed up establishment of biocontrol agents.

AAB: Dr Jacobson stands down after 12 years

Prof Toby Bruce has paid tribute to the voluntary work done for the AAB by Dr Jacobson over the past 12 years - “his extensive experience bridges the divide between academic theory and industrial practice” and his “Advances in IPM conferences are probably the UK's foremost IPM event”. (Go to Testimonials)

Contract with UK-China Training Ltd

Dr Jacobson was presented with a momento by the leader of a delegation of Chinese academics following his delivery of a highly successful IPM training course. Read more »

IPM: The 10 year plan

Dr Jacobson led the team which organised the AAB’s 2015 IPM conference at The Wyndam Garden Hotel, Marston, UK on 18&19 November 2105. The conference incorporated the 2015 Bewley lectures which celebrated 100 years of research in UK crops. (Go to Courses & Conferences)

Australian collaboration

Leading Australian tomato grower successfully implements biologically-based pest control techniques in 20 hectares of premium quality speciality tomato crops (Go to Testimonials)

Working with Horticulture New Zealand

Dr Jacobson was key note speaker at Horticulture NZ’s national conference in Auckland and provided consultancy services to NZ tomato and pepper growers (Go to Courses & Conferences and Testimonials)

NRoSO Spray operator courses

Current "10 point" courses for spray operators include "IPM: Putting theory into practice" and "Insect & mite pests: Biology & control" (Go to Courses & Conferences)

IPM Training

Swedish growers, researchers and practitioners become the latest of 12 countries to benefit from IPM training from RJC Ltd (Go to Courses & Conferences)

Tuta absoluta

IPM compatible strategy developed for this new pest (Go to Testimonials and Information Sheets for this and other successful projects)

Southern Green Shieldbug

Factsheet via HDC aids recognition of this new and potentially devastating pest (Go to Information Sheets for this and more)

Advances in IPM 2014
IPM: Pushing back the frontiers

Another two successful IPM conferences organised through the AAB (Go to Courses & Conferences for this and other successful events)

BTGA Conference

Dr Jacobson chairs the 2013 British Tomato Conference (Go to Courses & Conferences)

Aphid IPM

Why is IPM of aphids so difficult? (Go to Testimonials)