Improving the Accuracy of Sampling Field Plots for Plant-Parasitic Nematodes


  • L. J. Francl


The validity of nematode data from field experiments depends largely on how well samples represent the nematode population. Data from an intensive sampling of three field plots before and after spring cultivation were used to compare eight simulated sampling schemes. Average deviation from the plot mean ranged from 10% to 34% before cultivation and from 7% to 16% after cultivation. Samples taken from only the plant row erred most before cultivation but were comparable to other schemes after cultivation. Several schemes achieved a 25% deviation or less in 90% of the sample simulations. Sampling a nematode population usually involves subsampling a composite bulk sample, however, and this increases error by an estimable amount. A random sample with 35 cores and four random subsamples estimated mean plot densities within 25% with probabilities ranging from 0.77 to 0.85. The probability of a sample-subsample combination coming within a specified percent error of the true mean can be extended cautiously to any field mean and variance more-or-less independent of species and area using formulae presented herein. The most economical method of increasing sample accuracy was to increase the number of soil cores. Key words: Heterodera glycines, soybean cyst nematode, subsampling.