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University of Illinois Extension serving Jo Daviess, Stephenson and Winnebago Counties

Stephenson County
Highland Community College, Bldg R
2998 W Pearl City Rd
Freeport, IL 61032
Phone: 815-235-4125
FAX: 815-232-9006
Email: uie-jsw@illinois.edu
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm

Jo Daviess County
204 Vine, PO Box 600
Elizabeth, IL 61028
Phone: 815-858-2273
FAX: 815-858-2274

SNAP Ed Office
650 North Main St
Rockford, IL 61103
Phone: 779-423-0982

Winnebago County
1040 North Second Street
Rockford, IL 61107
Phone: 815-986-4357
FAX: 815-986-4329

News Release

University of Illinois Conducts Statewide Nematode Survey

Nematodes are microscopic, soil-borne worms which live in the soil and are quietly responsible for yield losses up to 20% in corn and soybeans. Nematodes feed on plant roots using a piercing mouthparts which can also provide a pathway for root pathogens; pythium, rhizoctonia, and phytophthora in soybean, for example. While soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is often the most talked about, corn nematodes are quickly becoming an area of interest. Nematode damage is often overlooked in fields because the damage they cause is easily confused with other stress factors such as drought and nutrient deficiencies.

Nematodes are found in nearly every field, but often not at damaging levels; these fields may experience yield losses of up to 10 bushels and not even know it. Despite the introduction of control methods, repeated use of resistant varieties and nematicides has led to the development of tolerant nematode populations making treatment options less effective. Nowadays, a single control option such as using resistant varieties will not work like it used to; a multifaceted approach which uses crop rotation, resistant varieties, and nematicides may be required to keep populations at a manageable level.

There are over 50 known species of nematodes which feed on corn in the U.S., with a wide range of adaptations to soil textures, climatic factors, and production systems. However, not all nematodes are created equal as some can cause significantly more damage than others. It is for this reason that determining the type and number of nematodes present in IL is crucial component in the development of control options. It is for this reason that Dr. Nathan Kleczewski, University of Illinois Extension Plant Pathologist, will be conducting the first state-wide corn and soybean nematode survey in nearly a decade.

Dr. Kleczewski is working with Extension staff across the state and is looking for producers in Northwest Illinois who will allow soil samples to be taken as part of this survey. Corn nematode samples are to be taken at approximately V6 in corn and SCN samples will be taken shortly after harvest. Interested parties may contact Phillip Alberti, University of Illinois Extension Crop Science Educator, at 815-235-4125 or palberti@illinois.edu to hear more about this research or to determine if they are suited for involvement in this project.

Source: Phillip Alberti, , palberti@illinois.edu

Local Contact: Nikki Keltner, Program Coordinator (Stephenson County), nkeltner@illinois.edu