A NEW SOIL test to assess the risk of potato disease spraing could help reduce nematicide use, says SAC.

It detects the presence of the tobacco rattle virus (TRV) which causes the problem.

Faster and more conclusive TRV detection means treatments can be better targeted and unnecessary applications avoided, which could have environmental benefits and cut growers’ costs, SAC points out.

The service is available for the 2005 season, with a one to three-week results turnaround from sampling.

Growers can take their own samples or arrange for local SAC Farm Business Services to do the job.