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    DeCyst - Factors affecting trap crop success against PCN (10027156)


    The aim of this project is to improve on the current knowledge of “DeCyst” solanaceous trap crops, and how they are best utilised for PCN control by potato growers in England and the other potato growing regions of the UK. The project partners include Produce Solutions, CHAP, Harper Adams University, VCS (Potatoes) and five potato growers who are already growing trap crops as part of their integrated approach to PCN control. Current barriers to expansion of DeCyst trap cropping as a viable economic tool for PCN control include the increasing seed and establishment costs, coupled with challenging management required for crop establishment and grower knowledge of trap crops in the UK. In addition to improving establishment techniques, the project aims to look at the use of new species of DeCyst trap crops and the opportunity to grow them in between existing crops in the rotation without the need for substitution - thus unlocking the potential for use of trap crops as autumn and winter cover crops.


    English and wider UK potato production is underpinned by a declining number of synthetic nematicides (e.g. Nemathorin) to control potato cyst nematodes (PCN); soilborne parasites that are present in 48% of UK potato fields. Potato yield losses are recordable at 5 PCN eggs g soil, with PCN populations often exceeding 50 eggs g soil in many fields. Under high infestations, up to 80% losses can occur (AHDB,2018). Nematicides such as Nemathorin (renewal review 2025) are likely to be withdrawn due to pesticide regulatory changes, leaving few viable alternatives for PCN control; potato production will become uneconomical for many.

    This project will focus on improving the reliability of a highly efficacious (c.75-85% effective) innovative technique; ‘trap cropping’. Solanaceous trap crops (STCs) are potato relatives grown to stimulate PCN hatch and root invasion at a different point in rotation to potatoes. STC’s prevent PCN completing their life-cycle due to innate resistance mechanisms, consequently reducing PCN population densities in fields. Previous projects; SAPPIO LINK, AHDB (Ref:R468), InnovativeFarmers sponsored field-lab have explored STCs, but significant barriers remain in achieving consistent trap crop establishment. This currently limits efficacy in the field and grower uptake.

    Two commercial products are sold in the UK; DeCyst-Prickly and DeCyst-Broadleaf (ProduceSolutions), with a third product to be commercialised; DeCyst-Podium. ProduceSolutions are the sole UK supplier of STC’s, selling c.250ha of seed annually (worth: £74,000). The market potential is in excess of; England-* Kha/UK-50. Innovative experimental work will provide STC establishment guidelines, initially for English growers, that will open this market to ProduceSolutions, and enable grower implementation of trap cropping in place of nematicides.

    The project work packages aim to investigate the primary factors currently affecting STC success (a-d), including knowledge exchange work packages (e-g) to showcase STCs to growers and implement innovative project results at the field-scale. These activities will also include development of DeCyst-Podium, a novel innovative STC species which has not yet been used/investigated in the UK.

    Investigative work factors                                                 Knowledge Exchange work

    a)  Seed rate                                                                                e) STC suitability for farm systems

    b)  Sowing date (DeCyst-Podium)                                f) Intercrop drilling and date

    c)   Nutrition (Phosphate and Potassium)               g) Drilling, nutrition and weed control

    d)  Establishment method

    Project results will be disseminated at knowledge exchange sites and captured in a new ‘Grower Guide’ for PCN STC’s, providing best practice recommendations to achieve consistent establishment and high efficacy, and to expand ProduceSolutions sales area within the UK.

    Funding Body

    Innovate UK

    Lead Organisation

    Produce Solutions


    Harper Adams University, CHAP, Vegetable Consultancy Sercices (Potatoes)

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