Trap crops in starker focus

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THE final loss of approval of Vydate, the pesticide used to control potato cyst nematode (PCN), in December has brought an Innovative Farmers field lab into even sharper focus as many potato farmers search for alternatives.

 

As previously reported in Potato Review, farmers in Shropshire and Lancashire are further investigating the efficacy of growing trap crops to control the nematode.

 

Neil Furniss, Manager at M.E. Furniss & Sons in Shropshire, said: “It’s even more pertinent to have biological pest controls with the loss of Vydate – we knew it was coming but maybe not so quickly. For 20 years I’ve been planning that part of my strategy which will be to include a trap crop within our rotation across the farm.”

 

Trap crops work by deceiving PCN via chemicals they release which signal the presence of suitable food and trigger the nematodes to emerge from their safe hiding. Without a good source of energy to feed on, the nematode’s life cycle cannot be completed, reducing subsequent PCN populations in soils. A combination of factors is causing growers to look more closely at biological management including high costs of chemical control measures, damage to soil life as well as the phase out of agrochemicals.

 

 

To read more, see the May issue of Potato Review. You can subscribe here.

 

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