Fifty years ago, nobody was talking about nematodes or the damage they can do to yields. Over the past decade, questions popped up, but remained relatively quiet. But now, some information — and misinformation — is starting to spread.
Nematodes are invisible to the naked eye, which helps explain why many growers don't realize just how invasive they are. A 2016 study found that 80% of corn acres sampled in the US have pressure from parasitic nematodes.* And that they can thrive in any soil type.
Nematodes have been underestimated and overlooked for decades, so they've been able to get away with stealing an estimated >10% of corn, soybean and cotton yields.** Below, we break down common myths and misconceptions and deliver the facts you need to know to protect your yields.
Myth: If you have a nematode problem, your crops will show symptoms.
Fact: Nematodes hide in healthy-looking crops. Nematode damage can also be invisible; symptoms of nematode pressure don't always appear — either above or below ground. Some nematodes pierce roots to feed on the water and nutrients inside, but their microscopic size prevents them from being detected. Others penetrate the roots and move between root cells as they feed, destroying the root from the inside out.
It's possible to observe green foliage and a robust root system, and still have a hidden nematode infestation.
Myth: If you have a nematode problem, you'll recognize the signs.
Fact: Nematode damage can be misdiagnosed. When nematode damage does show up above ground, it often appears as wilting, yellowing or stunting. Unfortunately, these are usually attributed to drought, nutrient deficiency or disease. And fighting the symptom doesn't get to the root of the problem.
Myth: Nematodes only cause damage by eating roots.
Fact: Nematodes can facilitate secondary infections. By creating an open wound in plant roots and stealing the nutrients that help keep plants strong, nematodes can make plants more susceptible to other yield-robbing threats like fungal and bacterial infections. They can also transmit viruses, turning what could have been minor issues into major challenges.
Myth: If you rotate your crops, you're protected.
Fact: Crop rotation doesn't provide comprehensive nematode control. Some nematode species can feed on multiple crops, so a lesion nematode infestation in corn can infect a soybean or cotton crop planted in that field the following season.
New NemaStrike™ Technology, a seed treatment technology available for corn, soybeans and cotton through Acceleron® Seed Applied Solutions, provides broad-spectrum nematode control that stays in the root zone for up to 75 days to protect crops as they grow.
In hundreds of field trials over 3 years, NemaStrike™ Technology delivered an average yield protection advantage of 7 Bu/A in corn, 3 Bu/A in soybeans and 80 Lbs. Lint/A in cotton.***