University of Illinois Conducts Statewide Nematode Survey - U of I Extension

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University of Illinois Conducts Statewide Nematode Survey

This article was originally published on May 29, 2018 and expired on July 31, 2018. It is provided here for archival purposes and may contain dated information.

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, Extension Educator, Commercial Agriculture, palberti@illinois.edu

Pull date: July 31, 2018