Over a third of a million tests vital to potato farmers and other growers have taken place in a small laboratory in Sutterton since it was established in the late 1970s.
Anglian Farm Analysis tests for potato cyst nematodes (PCN), roundworms that live on the roots of the plants, causing growth retardation and sometimes damage to the roots.
From quite simple beginnings – Janice Despicht, who qualified as a seed analyst after school, began with a microscope on the kitchen table when her children were young – the laboratory has grown to the point where it handles over half the eelworm analyses in England.
Partners and directors Janice and husband Terry established Anglian Soil Analysis with another consultant in 1977 and now have a laboratory where about ten technicians and assistants test for eelworm, usually in 100g samples, as well as checking for nutrients in the soil and available nitrogen analysis, useful for brassica growers.
Terry said: “PCN testing has been our bread and butter. We analyse soil from all over the country for eelworm, a tiny bug that eats the roots of potatoes and causes major problems if untreated. We now do over 30 analyses for various things for farmers and horticulturists all over the country.”
Their son Mark joins the company as director and partner next month, along with his wife Anna.