31 October 2022
A research project at Harper Adams examining how trap crops could help protect potatoes has been featured on the BBC.
The Innovate UK project – which is a collaboration between the University, Produce Solutions, and CHAP Agritech, is aimed at reducing the impact of nematodes – small, worm-like creatures whose presence can damage crops such as potatoes.
Afternoon spent talking with @DrDavidGK and BBC Midlands Today @bbcmtd about DeCyst trap crops for PCN control and our @innovateuk project. Who from the project team will make the final cut? Almost certainly not this chap! @CHAPAgriTech @greenvaleAP @DrMattBack @GriffithRichard pic.twitter.com/Rm5CIXZM88— Produce Solutions (@ProduceSolution) October 27, 2022
Dr Matthew Back, Reader in Nematology at Harper Adams, told science and environment correspondent Dr David Gregory-Kumar: “Nematodes, in general, will infect leaves, shoots or roots and when they set up their feeding sites, they are essentially disrupting the cell function within the plants – so where nematodes are left unmanaged they will build up in the soils and they can be very, very damaging over time.”
Great to see AAB Council member @DrMattBack @HarperAdamsUni on the tele promoting a project on using trap-crops to protect ?? from Potato Cyst Nematode ??— AAB (@AABiologists) October 28, 2022
'Prickly plant may be able to beat crop pest - Shropshire farmers'@DrDavidGK https://t.co/PwtWQ3Nj5q
To tackle this, the project is working to establish plants which work as trap crops – essentially, attracting the nematodes towards them.
However, once this happens, the trap crop reacts differently to the main crop – meaning the nematodes lifecycle is disrupted.
The report featured on BBC Midlands Today – for anyone who missed it, you can read Dr Gregory-Kumar’s piece on the project on the BBC website here.