'Check PCN populations'


30 March 2022
Timely advice for UK growers

AS the planting of potato crops starts to get underway across the United Kingdom, industry experts have warned growers not to be complacent about the effects of nematodes on their crops.

The most high-profile species are potato cyst nematodes (PCN), but scientists at Fera Science in York say that many species of free-living nematode (FLN), which damage crops and reduce yields through root fielding and facilitating disease infections, can also have economic consequences for growers.
Early spring, ahead of planting, is an ideal time to sample for PCN (Globodera rostochiensis and Globodera pallida) in order to help decisions regarding varieties, rotations or crop management. “To help make informed decisions, you should be sampling now,” explains Fera’s Senior Plant Nematologist Tom Prior.

When sampling fields for PCN, Tom warns against taking too large a quantity of soil which can increase the level of standard error in the sample assessment. 

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He recommends taking either 1kg for detection of cyst nematodes, or 400 grams of soil per hectare for monitoring purposes, sampling with a 1 cm core to a depth of up to 10 cm, following a systematic sampling pattern, based on a W pattern or a grid. “That might seem quite intensive, but it helps the early detection of nematode populations at low levels in the field and helps to mitigate any risks in the results which can occur from processing in the laboratory.”

For more advice on nematodes, see the May issue of Potato Review. Subscribe here.

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