Friendly nematodes offer rootworm control in Southwest

Texas A&M logoTexas A&M AgriLife Extension Entomology has been conducting a joint research project with Dr. Elson Shields from Cornell University for the past four years. They have shown that persistent, insect-killing nematodes (that are harmless to plants) have the ability to lower corn root damage whether the crop is Bt or non-Bt. And these nematodes persist for many years and just keep killing, even across crop rotations.

More recent work near Roswell, New Mexico, has demonstrated that center-pivot irrigation is an excellent way to apply the nematodes.

Shields and Drs. Jourdan Bell and Pat Porter from Texas A&M AgriLife are hosting a Zoom meeting Feb. 18 from 9:30 – 10:30 a,m. CST.

Shields will explain how these nematodes work and why they are different from commercial nematodes that do not persist in the soil. He will also present research data from our trials near Dalhart and Roswell. This is new and powerful technology, so the researchers have left time to answer questions.

As an added bonus, New Mexico State University has demonstrated that these nematodes persist in alfalfa stands and are a likely candidate to provide durable control of whitefringed beetles that can devastate a stand of alfalfa. Research in New York has shown that one application of these nematodes provides at least 15 years (and counting) of control of a cousin of our whitefringed beetles.

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