Harper Adams University in Shropshire will investigate nematicide break down, leading to reduced levels of protection to plants from invading nematodes. It is believed that soil type can influence the effectiveness of nematicides.
Harper Adams nematology and entomology research group leader Pat Haydock, said poor nematicide performance was often a result of improper application or a delay between application and planting.
"However, where these factors can be discounted, it is possible that populations of soil-borne microbes are degrading nematicides faster than usual, resulting in reduced levels of protection to plants from invading nematodes," he said.
The University is seeking four- and one-half-pound soil samples from growers throughout the UK.