It is estimated that up to 15% of world agricultural production is lost each year to nematode infestation. Yet, the majority of U.S. corn and soybean growers do not sample for the presence of this microscopic pest and may not know if their crops are being damaged by it. Part of the problem is that you cannot see nematodes with the naked eye so often the damage they cause is attributed to something else. Jerod Thomas, with Seed Applied Solutions, says, “Many times, the damage can look like drought stress or just poor fertilization in a field.”
Thomas told HAT research indicates most growers do not know they have an infestation, “Research we have done indicates that only about 8% of corn farmers and 25% of soybean farmers believe that nematodes are causing damage, but field tests indicate that about 80% of acres have nematode infestation.” He added that this shows that growers are definitely underestimating the problem.
Help is on the way, according to Thomas. Beginning in 2018 new technology will be available to help control nematodes. “Pending regulatory approval Monsanto will launch a new nematicide called NemaStrike TM,” Thomas said. “It is for broad-spectrum control of nematodes.” In the meantime, Thomas recommends sampling your fields for the presence of nematodes.