The project aims to provide an assessment of the distribution and yield losses caused by cyst nematodes in oilseed rape and offer integrated management advice to minimise current and future crop losses.
The brassica cyst nematode (Heterodera cruciferae) is host to all brassicas and other species of the family Cruciferae. It is believed to be widespread in the UK, especially in areas of intensive vegetable brassica production. The beet cyst nematode (Heterodera schachtii) also breeds on oilseed rape (OSR) and the two species are known to cause significant damage. Most of our knowledge on the distribution, biology and interaction of the cyst nematodes with OSR is from very preliminary and limited work carried out in the 1980s and early 1990s. However, as the area under OSR continues to increase since 1973 when UK joined the EEC to date, with the current hectarage in excess of 650,000 ha, the reduction in rotation lengths, as well as different commercial cultivars being grown, it is important that the gaps in our knowledge are filled and our understanding of the current problems caused by cyst nematodes assessed and updated.
The project will initially establish the distribution and population densities of H. cruciferae and H. schachtii in OSR-growing regions of the UK. The relationship between cyst nematode population densities and yield loss in OSR will then be established, as will the extent of resistance to, and tolerance of the cyst nematodes in five of the most popular UK cultivars. Further information on the natural decline in nematode numbers in the absence of a host crop and the effectiveness of rotation will be provided alongside development of tools towards an integrated management approach for growers.
Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA)
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