PCN (Potato Cyst Nematode)

Potato cyst nematode is the most important potato pest in the UK and has the potential to cause substantial yield losses. 

There are two species of PCN, Globodera rostochiensis and Globodera pallida. G. pallida has become widespread due to its prolonged hatching period and the selection pressure created by the cultivation of many varieties that are resistant to G. rostochiensis but susceptible to G. pallida.

An IPM approach is required to deal with PCN, including:

  • Sample soil to detect the presence of PCN and, if confirmed, determine the PCN species and population levels because these will influence the choice of management options
  • Extend rotations to at least eight years toreduce PCN levels
  • Use certified seed potatoes, produced on land tested for freedom from PCN
  • Ensure hygienic practices that limit the movement of soil, including that from graders
  • Control volunteer potatoes
  • Use varieties that are resistant to the species of PCN present
  • Use trap cropping and biofumigants in the rotation
  • Use a granular nematicide

PCN population changes 2008 - 2018

Nematicide Stewardship Programme (NSP)

Nematode control is integral to the production of high quality, nutritious root crops and granular nematicides are a vital tool in an integrated strategy to control this pest.

The NSP’s role is to ensure a best practice (external link) approach across all aspects of their use, from delivery on farm through to operator handling, machinery set up and maintenance, to application and storage.

Visit NSP for training, downloads and protocols

Dealing with PCN - resources