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Integrated control only way to stop spread of PCN

4 December 2018

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has published updated recommendations for the management of Potato Cyst Nematodes (PCN).

Dr Anne Stone, Knowledge Transfer Manager at AHDB Potatoes, has edited a new PCN Grower Guide, and said:

As we revealed last month, PCN continues to spread into new areas across Britain. The only way we’re going to stop the spread is through an integrated approach.

“That includes collaboration between growers, agronomists, researchers and the supply chain – and it means growers and agronomists ‘thinking PCN’ at every stage from seed selection to hygiene measures at harvest to planning their rotation.”

The publication of the PCN grower guide follows a literature review by a group of nematologists led by Sue Hockland and including Dr Tom Prior of Fera, Dr Kim Davie and Dr Jon Pickup of SASA, Dr Vivian Blok and Prof John Jones of the James Hutton Institute and Dr Matt Back and Dr Ivan Grove of Harper Adams University.  

The integrated approach in the guide recommends the use of a range of control measures to reduce the PCN population at the time of planting.

These include hygiene, clean seed, control of volunteers, rotation length, trap crops, biofumigants, nematicides and variety selection.

Dr Stone said: “In general, the resistance of the particular variety being grown will have the greatest effect on the PCN population following harvest.

“Of course growers have many factors that affect the variety they grow and the land available to grow it in.

“Ultimately, if they can find a way to minimise the effect of PCN on their crops and the pest’s presence in the soil, they’ll enjoy better marketable yields and provide a more sustainable environment for future crops. This guide has been designed to help them achieve this.”

The PCN grower guide can be downloaded or ordered in hard copy at

- ENDS -

More on PCN

Watch a presentation on PCN tolerance from Prof. Unwin of University of Leeds - given at the Agronomists Conference, 4 December 2018

Notes to editors

AHDB is a statutory levy board, funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain. Our purpose is to inspire our farmers, growers and industry to succeed in a rapidly changing world. We equip the industry with easy to use, practical know-how which they can apply straight away to make better decisions and improve their performance. Established in 2008 and classified as a Non-Departmental Public Body, it supports the following industries: meat and livestock (cattle, sheep and pigs) in England; horticulture, milk and potatoes in Great Britain; and cereals and oilseeds in the UK. AHDB’s remit covers 72 per cent of total UK agricultural output. Further information on AHDB can be found at


For further information contact Jimmy Phillips Senior Marcomms Manager (AHDB Potatoes) on 024 7647 8933 or


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