Jim Wilson

Soil Essentials


Project Lead: Jim Wilson
Poor control of groundkeepers (unharvested potatoes that regrow during subsequent crops) enables PCN populations, along with other pests and pathogens, to increase between potato rotations. This greatly undermines the usefulness of rotations in reducing PCN in the soil. A reduction in groundkeeper occurrence, through better control, would have a major impact on the presence of PCN. However, the potential loss of the herbicide glyphosate to control groundkeepers, especially alongside other herbicide withdrawals, will make control more difficult and costly. To control groundkeepers, it is first necessary to know where they are, what factors lead to increased incidence, how to detect them and how effective different control options are.

The aim of this small project is to use aerial imagery from drones equipped with RTK GNSS to repeatably locate groundkeeper potato plants, coupled with soil samples from areas with and without groundkeepers, testing for PCN levels in the soil samples. Results will be mapped and analysed to compare the effect of groundkeepers on PCN. The results from this work will feed directly into the new SG funded PCN project.