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Are nematodes an underestimated pest in crop production?

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Nematodes have become an underestimated pest when it comes to crop damage. They’ve been around for years, but one company representative says there’s more you need to know.

“Right now about 12 percent of worldwide agriculture is lost from a productivity standpoint to nematodes across crops,” North America Product Management Lead for Seed Applied Solutions at Monsanto, Brent Craig says.

Craig says they cause damage in a few different ways.

“They feed off roots and can be the cause of bacterial and fungal infections, so they are really causing damage related to yield loss. When you look at grower perception about nematodes, there is a lack of knowledge. One, a lot of growers do not test for nematodes at least in corn, and they haven’t realized they have had that problem in the past, so it is damaging their yield and they don’t know it.”

From an academia standpoint, there hasn’t been a lot of focus on this in the past.

“A little bit on soybeans but not a lot of the other crops. I don’t think the word has gotten out but the biggest problem I think is misattributing damage or yield impact in a field to drought conditions or other things, when the damage is really coming from nematodes. Until we have a novel solution that helps farmers identify that, it is difficult to understand the problem they are facing,” Craig says.

He adds Monsanto’s “Nemastrike” will help combat these pesky pests but it is currently pending regulatory approval. They are confident it will be approved. Find more information about nematodes

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