Angus farmers are at the forefront of efforts to tackle the growing problem of potato cyst nematode (PCN) which is having a multi-million-pound impact on the Scottish industry every year, reports Nancy Nicolson for The Courier.
As chemical options are withdrawn from use, a group of producers and researchers have turned their attention to biocontrol methods, which include using a chitin-rich compost made from a substance that occurs naturally in shellfish.
Brechin-based Martin Cessford of Angus Horticulture said: “Dr Andy Evans of SRUC got dispensation to use seashells from food waste 12 years ago, and in six years the fields were clear.”
The impact of the compost on PCN infestation is being monitored by a research station in Belgium. The group is also working with the Rural Innovation Support Service (RISS), led by Soil Association Scotland, alongside SoilEssentials, Scottish Agronomy and SASA.