Alternative Nematode Management
Due to increasing regulatory constraints on the use of fumigants, there has been increasing interest in alternative methods for managing plant parasitic nematodes in recent years. From a basic pest management standpoint, there are two ways to manage nematodes within a cropping system. 1) Manage pest presence in the root zone, or 2) Mitigate pest effects on the crop. Traditionally, the former included pre-plant fumigation and crop rotation to a non-host, while the latter was primarily accomplished by planting resistant varieties. Recently, soil applied nematicides have been of increasing interest as well as plant health products to enhance the crop’s natural defenses and maximize growth when nematodes are present. Two new products in particular show potential as management tools.
1) Manage Pest Presence – Velum One
Velum One is a Bayer CropScience liquid-formulated product, registered for use in-season on many of the major permanent and row crops in California. It has nematicidal activity on a wide range of plant parasitic nematodes and the active ingredient fluopyram also exhibits fungicidal properties on some diseases such as powdery mildew. Notably, it is easily applied through chemigation. This allows for application in tree and vine systems during spring and/or fall root flush, while nematodes are active and the crop is particularly susceptible. During application, it moves with the water, so a longer injection time with enough water for a thorough wetting of the root zone is important.
2) Mitigate Pest Effects – Kendal Nem
Kendal Nem is a Valagro plant extract and mineral nutrient blended product which enhances the plant’s natural ability to withstand biotic stress from nematode infestation. While having no nematicidal properties, the biologically active components plus mineral fraction enhance root vigor and root system recovery. Thus, while nematodes in the soil are unaffected by Kendal Nem, the yield potential of the plant can be protected despite infestation. It is a liquid formulated product that readily goes into solution for application in-season and is generally applied early in the crop cycle with several sequential applications.
A Program Approach – Velum + Kendal Nem
As full elimination of nematodes from the soil may be less of an option moving forward, a program approach is the best alternative. Reducing nematode numbers in the soil with Velum One while increasing the plant’s ability to maintain growth and yield with Kendal Nem is a winning combination. They both follow a similar use pattern, generally applied early in the row crop cycle or during spring root flush in perennials. Recent studies by Helena R&D and other 3rd party research firms has demonstrated that both produce yield increases when nematodes are a limiting factor. They also tank mix readily and when applied together, the yield effect has been observed as additive in multiple cropping systems.
These products are available for use in 2018 and in combination are a promising nematode management tool.
- Tim Verrinder – R&D Farm Manager