Soil Health Unit

Fera has established the Soil Health Unit to improve understanding of soil management and its effects on crop health and threat control. Our work involves investigating the interactions between soil condition, crops, water and biotic stress – and the environmental factors that influence them.

Soil Health Unit
What test do I need?

If you are unsure what kind of tests you need, we can help you diagnose your crop using our plant diagnosis techniques.

Diagnose my Plant
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  1. Virus-vector nematodes from soil: Stubby-Root nematodes

    A test for stubby-root nematodes such as Trichodorus or Paratrichodorus minor. Plants infected show short stunted roots and a general overall reduction in root development. These nematodes can also transmit damaging plant viruses.

  2. Virus-vector nematodes from soil: Needle and Dagger nematodes

    A test for both Dagger nematodes (Xiphinema diversicaudatum) & Needle nematodes (Longidorus elongates) from soil.

  3. General free-living plant-parasitic nematodes from soil: Basic analysis
    Our expert nematologists will analyse your soil samples for free-living nematodes which includes the extraction, count and identification to group (including root-lesion nematodes, but with the exception of virus vectors which require specialist extraction methods). This can give you the initial analysis required to point your prevention strategies in the correct direction.
  4. General free-living plant-parasitic nematodes from soil: Standard analysis

    A test for free-living plant-parasitic nematodes from soil including extraction, counts and identification to genus/species (including root-lesion nematodes) of any free living nematodes found within your sample. We also supply information on any pathogenic nematodes found (Plese note: virus vectors require specialist extraction methods).

  5. Verticillium dahliae Analysis

    A test for the presence of Verticillium dahliae in soil which causes Verticillium wilt in many plant species.

  6. Soil Bait Tests: Phytophthora (except P. Rubi, and P. idaei) and Pythium

    A bait test to identify Phytophthora (except P. rubi, and P. idaei.) and Pythium in soil. Both Phytophthora and Pythium are fungus-like organisms causing disease in a range of plants.

  7. Strawberry red core (Phytophthora fragariae) in soil
    This test for Strawberry Red Core (Phytophthora fragariae) in soil allows for the detection of the disease in the ground before planting.
  8. Club root (Plasmodiophora brassicae) in soil presence or absence.
    It is important to test soil for the presence of club root as the organism produces zoospores that remain in the soil for many years that can infect future crops.
  9. Combined Test: Powdery scab (Spongospora subterranea) and Potato mop top virus (PMTV)

    Powdery scab (Spongospora subterranea) is a fungal blemish disease of potatoes. A cosmetic defect with small lesions occurring in the early stages of the disease, progressing to raised pustules containing a powdery mass.

  10. Water Bait Test (Phytophthora and Pythium)
    Identification of Phytophthora and Pythium from water. Both are parasitic fungus-like microorganisms that cause diseases such as root rot on a wide range of plant species.
  11. Water Quality Test
    Isolation and count of plant pathogenic bacteria in water.
  12. Potato wash water test - Total count of soft rotting bacteria (Pectobacterium and Dickeya spp.)
    An overall count of soft rotting bacteria in potato wash water.

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