Integrated management of plant parasitic nematodes
the inside track
The industry loses approximately 1.6 million tons of cane annually due to nematodes. Much of this loss can be alleviated through proper management of the pest. Traditionally nematodes have always been managed with the use of nematicides. However, there are some existing farm practices that can be exploited to help manage a nematode problem without the use of a nematicide.
1. Green manuring
Some crops have the ability to reduce nematode numbers in the soil thus negating the need for a nematicide in the plant crop. For more information on green manuring and nematodes see September 2015 edition of THE LINK: Impact of green manures on nematode control.
2. Variety choice
Some varieties show a reduced response to a nematicide and are thus termed tolerant. Any variety rated tolerant generally does not respond to a nematicide and thus does not require one when planting or ratooning. Nematode ratings for varieties can be found in the variety information sheets. So check the nematode status of the variety that you are planting.
3. Sample for nematodes
All fields should be sampled at least once. This is to determine what nematodes you have and the exact clay percentage of your soil, in order to make an informed decision on management. Not all genera are pathogenic on cane, so if they are not present in the soil and roots, there may not be a need to apply a nematicide. Conversely, if these genera are present, you may still need to apply a nematicide even in a slightly higher clay percentage soil (a soil in which you would not normally apply a nematicide). To confirm the need to apply or not apply a nematicide, you can you use test strips. Treat a few lines and leave a few untreated next to it. If you see a visual response in 6 weeks, then apply to the rest of the field.
By exploiting existing practices and making and informed on nematode management, nematodes can be managed in an environmentally sustainable, cost effective manner.(P. Ramouthar)
The season has not started very well. Firstly, due to the dry weather conditions very few growers are able to strip and secondly we are involved in strike action. At this stage we are unsure how long it is expected last, but we will keep you all up dated.
Once everything is back to normal we hope to have received some rain and our season can get going. We are still planning to process 60’000t for the season; therefore due to the late start we can expect to be going into late May. Please plan harvesting accordingly.
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