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Ongoing project

Integrated pest management of nematodes in sweetpotatoes (PW17001)

Key research provider: The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

What’s it all about?

This investment is tasked with bringing current and new information on nematode management and soil health to Australian sweetpotato growers.

Beginning in late 2018, it will run a series of masterclasses and other extension activities to bring the most up-to-date knowledge to industry, while conducting a range of field work to develop new knowledge. This field work will include surveys to identify region-specific nematode species and issues facing the Australian sweetpotato industry; the investigation of management approaches including cover crops, soil amendments, tillage options and more; and the evaluation of new nematicide technologies.

To date, the project team have achieved the following outcomes.


Four sweetpotato nematode masterclasses were held in the major production areas of Bundaberg, Cudgen and Atherton in Queensland. Sweetpotato growers were presented with up-to-date information about sustainable soil health management and a variety of nematode control options. Participants were encouraged to discuss how various management practices could be integrated into their sweetpotato farming systems.

Field surveys

Intensive field surveys have been conducted at over 90 sites to understand the occurrence of region-specific nematode species and identify any potential biosecurity issues. Previous cropping history and a range of soil parameters, such as soil type, organic carbon, pH and carbon dioxide respiration, will be used to assess the impact of these factors on nematode occurrence and population density.

Project results were communicated to farmers and researchers through field days and project updates held in Bundaberg and Cudgen.

Long-term farming system trial

A long-term farming system trial has been established at the Bundaberg Research Facility in Queensland and will run for the life of this project. It will assess a range of tillage options, soil amendments, cover crops and mulches to improve biological soil health and provide long-term sustainable nematode management.

The trial will assess practices including rotation crops, reduced tillage, traffic control and organic amendments. Various combinations of these practices will be trialed with regular monitoring of nematode populations, other soil/biological characteristics as well as yield data.

Related levy funds

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Sweetpotato Fund