Map project to target PCN
POTATO cyst nematode populations could be mapped across the UK in a bid to stem some of the EUs estimated £200m a year losses caused by the pest.
The four-year research project, backed by £600,000 of MAFF and company funding, will start next month and will also involve IACR-Rothamsted.
It is just one of the £750,000-worth of research contracts featured at the opening of a £350,000 Crop and Environmental Research Centre at Harper Adams Agricul-tural College, Shropshire, this week.
More than 100 farms will be soil sampled at different depths to assess the distribution of Globodera pallida and G rostochiensis. That will show how populations vary both across a field and down the soil profile.
"The distribution of nematodes is patchy, and in the past growers have been disappointed with the guidance given by soil sampling," said Pat Haydock, who will co-ordinate the colleges contribution to the work. "The primary aim is to improve soil sampling and diagnostic techniques."
If sampling accuracy can be improved control systems could be developed based on collected data to guide nematicide applications.
"The technology exists to use global positioning to vary the placement and amount of chemical applied," said Dr Haydock. *
• £600,000 project to improve nematode mapping.
• Precise database of nematode presence could be used to guide nematicide use.
• Genetic engineering to improve varietal resistance.
Looking for better PCN control – Pat Haydock of Harper Adams College.