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Corn nematode control tools

Chlorosis. Stunting. Root
damage. Yield loss. So which of the many maladies that annually impact your
corn cause these symptoms?

Could be herbicide damage.
Could be soil compaction. Or it could be a newcomer that’s actually been around
a lot longer than you think: corn nematode.

Corn farmers who also raise
soybeans already know about nematodes, due to soybean cyst nematode (SCN)
infestations. Unlike SCN, though, there are 60 species of nematodes that can
impact corn, says Cliff Watrin, Syngenta Seed Care technical crop manager.

Economic thresholds for corn
nematodes vary, depending on the type. For sting nematode, the threshold is
just 1 to 10 per 100 cubic centimeters (cc) of soil, says Watrin. Others, such
as lance, can tally between 50 to 100 per 100 cc of soil before yield damage

Changing production
practices are causing this pest to damage more corn. “We are using less
organophosphate and carbamate (soil-applied) insecticides and more
pyrethroids,” says Tamra Jackson, University of Nebraska Extension plant

A side benefit of
organophosphate and carbamate soil-applied corn rootworm insecticides is they
also control corn nematodes. Moving toward more pyrethroid insecticides and
corn rootworm traits nixes this perk.

More no-till also prompts
more corn nematodes to thrive. Numerous species of corn nematodes thrived in
undisturbed U.S. native grasslands before European settlers tilled them.
No-till mimics this natural state. 

More corn-on-corn – also a
grass – gives corn nematodes what they prefer to eat. “It is what we consider
ice cream for corn nematodes,” says Jackson.

There are a couple new corn
nematode-control products on the market to help farmers. In 2010, farmers were
able to control corn nematodes under a seed treatment combination Syngenta Seed
Care calls Avicta Complete Corn. Its five components include: 

• Avicta seed treatment

• Cruiser seed treatment

• Seed treatment fungicides
Apron XL, Maxim XL, and Dynasty.

Avicta Complete Corn’s suggested
retail price is $20 to $27 per 80,000-seed unit before seed company discounts,
says Mark Jirak, crop manager for Syngenta Seed Care. It also is incremental
above the standard Crusier Extreme 250 treatment that’s seamlessly priced into
a corn seed unit today, he adds.

Bayer CropScience will
launch a biological seed treatment that controls nematodes in corn, soybeans,
and cotton this year. Select growers and seed companies have tested
Poncho/Votivo on their farms in 2010.

Poncho/Votivo creates a living
barrier around plant roots so nematodes have limited access to feed, says Paul
Hewitt, product manager. The formulation allows endospores of the bacteria to
be applied directly to the seed. When that seed is planted, the endospores are
activated and Poncho/Votivo begins its work, he says.

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