Work Package 6 - Groundkeeper Control

Work Package Lead: Jim Wilson (SoilEssentials)


To control groundkeepers through identification and counting technology and improved management. 


Groundkeepers emerge from the potato tubers left behind at lifting and produce unwanted potato plants in following crops. These volunteers enable PCN populations to multiply between potato rotations which reduces the benefit of the rotation as PCN naturally declines in the absence of potatoes.

They are becoming a bigger problem due to tighter rotations, a change in climate (warmer winters), less grass in the rotation, loss of chemicals and an increase in diversity of cash crops grown e.g., carrots and broccoli. 


This WP will conduct experiments to determine the effect of groundkeeper presence on PCN populations and use precision methods to detect and control groundkeepers. This includes detailed spray maps and artificial intelligence models. The technology will be monitored, developed, and adapted throughout the project.

The chemical most commonly used to control groundkeepers is glyphosate. This WP will also determine the consequences of glyphosate loss and other potential control options. Precision sprayer technology will help target glyphosate application and encourage responsible use. The incidence and extent of groundkeepers will be identified and combined with data from SASA and other agronomic factors to further support the development of a Decision Support System (DSS, Work Package 2).

More information about the technology that will be used in this work package can be found on the SoilEssentials website - SoilEssentials | Precision Farming Solutions By Farmers for Farmers