Repeated Sampling to Determine the Precision of Estimating Nematode Population Densities


  • D. P. Schmitt
  • K. R. Barker
  • J. P. Noe
  • S. R. Koenning


The first phase of this study involved repeated samplings of five fields using composite samples of 10, 20, 40, and 80 soil cores, to determine the precision of nematode assays. The second phase focused on randomly selecting two and four 2-ha subunits (data on Meloidogyne spp.) of 24 fields ranging from 6 to 40 ha and computing the precision of estimated means for these numbers ofsubunits versus the general field mean (based on all 2-ha subunits). Average numbers of nematodes from most samples containing Meloidogyne spp., Heterodera glycines, Helicotylenchus dihystera, Scutellonema brachyurum, and (or) Hoplolaimus galeatus were within 50% of the overall means. Coefficient of variation (CV) values were generally lower for 40 cores than for 10, 20, and 80 cores per sample. When data for all nematodes and fields were combined, this value was lowest for 40 and 80 cores. The CV values were higher for Meloidogyne spp. than for H. glycines. Means of two samplings increased the probability of obtaining numbers nearer the mean for that field than numbers from a single composite sample. For the second phase, population estimates of Meloidogyne spp. based on four 2-ha subunits generally were closer to field means than were those for two subunits. Sampling precision with these subunits diminished greatly in large fields with variable soils and (or) mixed cropping histories. Either two or four subunits gave population estimates within 3-20% of the field mean in most instances. The mean man hours required for sampling ca. 2-ha parcels of 4-20-ha fields was 0.54 hours. Key words: assay, Criconemella spp., Helicotylenchus dihystera, Heterodera glycines, Meloidogyne, ring nematode, root-knot nematode, sampling, Scutellonema brachyurum, soybean cyst nematode, spiral nematode.