Plant Research International, P.O. Box 16, NL-6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands
A computer program, SAMPLE, was developed to evaluate existing and create new sampling methods for the detection of infestation foci of the potato cyst nematode (Globodera rostochiensis and G. pallida). By combining a model for the medium-scale distribution of cysts that provides the expected population densities at each position within the focus and a model for the small-scale distribution within square meters, sampling procedures can be simulated. The importance of the parameters of the two distribution models—the length and width gradient for the medium-scale distribution and the aggregation factor k of the negative binomial distribution for the small-scale distribution—was investigated by sensitivity analysis. Parameter k proved to be less important when calculating the average detection probability of a focus than were the length and width gradient parameters. Several existing versions of the statutory sampling method used in the Netherlands were tested for their performance on a standard infestation focus with a central population density of 50 cysts per kg of soil, which is small enough to use resistant potato cultivars as a control measure without noticeable yield reductions in a 1:3 year cropping frequency with potato. These methods did not perform with the desired average detection probability, set at 90%; therefore, SAMPLE was used to develop several new sampling methods for focus detection. SAMPLE is a tool to develop sampling methods on demand for every possible combination of characteristics required for use by seed and ware potato growers (recommendations for optimum control measures leading to maximum returns and integrated pest management) and by governments (legislation, quarantine, and export protection).