Equipment/Technology

Research in action: PCN advisory tool under scrutiny

Four potato varieties not known to be resistant to white potato cyst nematode (Globodera pallida) have given much better yields than eight others in the first year of a two-season SARIC-funded research project in the UK. The latest work aims to improve AHDB’s potato cyst nematode population advisory tool (potatoes.ahdb.org.uk/online-toolbox/pcn-calculator), explains Matthew Back, of Harper Adams University. “We’re working with the University of Leeds and Barworth Agriculture to overcome issues which relate to the accuracy of yield benefits from chemical control and tolerance values,” he says. Five of the top 10 UK varieties are missing from the PCN calculator, notes colleague William Watts. They are Markies, Melody, Nectar, Royal and Taurus. “New management practices such as trap cropping and biofumigation aren’t yet built into it,” he adds. Field experiments on PCN-infested land were carried out last season on the top 10 most widely grown varieties plus two PCN-tolerant varieties – Cara and Maris Piper. Read more