Last week, several AUSVEG representatives attended a vegetable industry-focussed nematode masterclass inside a laboratory at the University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus.

The masterclass catered for those wanting to learn more about the world beneath our feet, and had a focus on both pest and beneficial nematodes which have a major role in maintaining the health of our soils.

The masterclass was run by Dr Graham Stirling, who has more than 50 years’ experience as a nematologist, plant pathologist and soil biologist.

A range of topics covered throughout the day included root-knot nematode and other important nematode pests; identifying and monitoring nematode populations; nematicides and integrated nematode management; and practical exercises.

The event – hosted by soil biologist Dr Helen Hayden – attracted participants from Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.

It formed part of a series of nematology masterclasses Dr Stirling is running around the country, that are designed to raise awareness of nematology, and inform and inspire a new generation to further their skills and expertise in this important soil fauna.

More masterclasses are scheduled for July and November at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.

Image caption: AUSVEG National Manager, Engagement and Extension Zarmeen Hassan at the nematode masterclass.