Establishing potato cyst nematode trap crops

This field lab explores the practice of establishing trap crops to control PCN - the UK's primary potato pest.

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Field Lab Timeline

    6/3/2020 11:00:00 PM
  • Group established

    Group established
  • 6/3/2020 11:00:00 PM
  • Interviews with growers

    Interviews with growers
  • 6/17/2020 11:00:00 PM
  • Innovative Farmers funding confirmed

    Innovative Farmers funding confirmed
  • 6/28/2020 11:00:00 PM
  • Sampling initial PCN levels

    Sampling initial PCN levels
  • 7/14/2020 11:00:00 PM
  • First drilling date

    First drilling date
  • 8/14/2020 11:00:00 PM
  • Second drilling date

    Second drilling date
  • 9/6/2020 11:00:00 PM
  • Field visits post-establishment

    Field visits post-establishment
  • 11/9/2020 12:00:00 AM
  • Field visit

    Field visit
  • 1/17/2021 12:00:00 AM
  • Results Meeting

    Results Meeting
For further information hover over the above milestone marks
  • Discussion

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  • Achievements

    November 2020

    Event 4th Dec 2020: 'Drip irrigation with slightly salty water' live stream for AHDB Agronomy week

    Are you a potato grower? Find out about another AHDB-sponsored field lab looking into the impacts of brackish water applied using drip irrigation on yield, quality.

    Details:

    4th December 2020, 5pm – 6pm

    Chair: Dr Anne Stone, Knowledge Transfer Manager (Potatoes), AHDB
    Speakers: Dr Iain Gould, University of Lincoln

    More info: In parts of the South Lincolnshire fens the only available irrigation water is from the drains, which are slightly saline even in winter. This field lab sees grower members of Nene Potato Ltd push their crops with saltier water. The use of drip irrigation in the trials is likely to be more efficient and more likely to avoid leaf scorch.

    Register here for FREE: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/agronomy-week-2020-tickets-117283288473

    Plus three days of potato sessions (2-4th December) and two days on cereals and oilseeds (30th Nov-1st Dec).

    More info on all the sessions here: https://ahdb.org.uk/events/agronomy-week-2020

    Milestone: Field visit

    October 2020

    Group visit and final assessments

    Final trial assessments were carried out in early October and two groups visited the Caynton and Tibberton sites for a final assessment of trap crop establishment.

    Whilst trap crop growth was good at Caynton, the Tibberton site had significant weed cover and very little trap crop establishment, making a ground cover assessment difficult and ambiguous. The earliest planting date in late June had good growth, whereas later planting resulted in poor establishment and ground cover. It was suggested that the late June date was probably the latest safe sowing date to achieve sufficient ground cover and thus PCN control in North Shropshire. Later sowing would require much higher seeding rates.

    Four plants from each of the most advanced plots for S. sisymbriifolium and S. scabrum were excavated and root systems compared. These will be weighed to determine root weight/mass.

    Two S. sisymbriifolium plants were taken from the most advanced plots so that they could be weighed, oven dried and reweighed for dry matter production. Neither reached 700g dry matter/m2 once dried. This supports the conclusion that sowing before the end of June is crucial, though this may depend on locality - sowing until mid July in south Shropshire may be possible.

    The Caynton site will be sampled for PCN and analysed at HAU.

    Final results and report to be written and circulated shortly

    Milestone: Field visit

    August 2020

    Trap crop emergence at the sites

    A month after the first sowing, both trap crops had a second sowing at the end of July or early August at all sites. Both trap crops have emerged at Caynton and Lilyhurst, particularly Solanum Sisymbriifolium sown at 1.5cm, based on assessments of the number of plants emerging in a 2m row after the 1st sowing. At the Ormskirk and Tibberton farms, emergence is very limited.

    More info on the progress and farms can be found in the Documents section in the top right corner of this page.

    Milestone: Second drilling date

    July 2020

    Two trial sites drilled - details

    Drilling took place at two sites in late June - a little before the planned date as soil conditions were good for drilling.

    Trial site 1: ME Furniss near Newport Shropshire, planted on 25th June 2020 (hot dry day, 27c, soil temp. 25c).

    The field was wholecrop wheat, harvested one week before. Lemken solitaire with power harrow. Plot sizes 4m drill width and 15m long with 8m guards (mainly for turning equipment. Plots drilled as a replicated and randomised experiment/trial. Two species: Solanum sisymbriifolium and Solanum scabrum drilled at both 1.5cm and 3cm depths (approximately). Sandy loam soil. 50kgN/ha applied to field as slurry in week prior to planting.

    Trial site 2: N Belcher, Shropshire, planted on 29th June 2020 (cool day, 14c, soil temp. 13c).

    Planted in unplanted area within a potato field. Same equipment, set up, trial design (replicated and randomised), trap crop seeds and drill depths as trial site 1. Sandy loam soil.

    More information and photos from the trial can be found in the 'Documents' section at the top of this page (login required - sign up is free). A video of the trap crop drilling and set-up can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MR5cyp2c4I

    Milestone: First drilling date

    June 2020

    Treatments and methods

    This field lab is looking to develop good establishment practice for the trap crops S sisymbriifolium and S scabrum when drilled after cereal harvest. Key aspects are date of drilling, weed control and drilling depth.

    A randomised plot design will allow analysis by Harper Adams University. Treatments:

    • Two species: Solanum sisymbriifolium and Solanum Scabrum
    • Two planting dates: early July and early August
    • Two planting depths: 1cm and 3cm

    Measurements:

    • Photographic records (hand held and drone cameras) - to track progress and as a discussion point at meetings
    • Emergence counts to monitor first and final emergence speed and percentage
    • Ground cover, measured by photography at approx. 50% leaf cover, 100% cover and pre- crop destruction; using the ‘easy leaf area’ phone app
    • PCN counts pre trap crop (Pi) and after trap crop destruction (Pf)

    Milestone: Innovative Farmers funding confirmed

    June 2020

    Research group established

    The Shropshire Potato Growers Discussion Group consists of farmers who have been visiting field experiments of Harper Adams University over several years. They have made their own trials and changes to practice and have shared the results with each other. In particular they have improved their soils and partially controlled pathogenic nematodes by use of cover crops and biofumigants. This experience has made them both interested in and capable of establishing trap crops.

    Four group members are hosting trials in 2020. They are all experienced at establishing over-wintered biofumigant crops and all have fields available for drilling at one of the required times. Other important factors are availability of irrigation to aid establishment if necessary and access to suitable drills.

    An important objective of the work is to hold regular meetings to discuss the development of the experiments, results, relevant observations and the future directions of the research. These meetings will be attended by the hosts of the trial sites, other members of the Shropshire Potato Growers Discussion Group, the seed supplier (Produce Solutions), Andrew Wade (OptiGrow), Ivan Grove (Independent) and Matthew Back (HAU).

    Milestone: Group established

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