Manage Nematodes to Fight Off Early Dying Complex

Early dying

Early dying complex in potatoes at first appearance is seemingly inexplicable. The plants were thriving, then they were dying. At that point, a grower has no options.

The best way to control early dying is at-plant – way before you see it. At planting is when growers can take the first step to control the unseen nemesis: nematodes, which are the pest that opens the door to disease.

“Early dying complex is caused by a fungus called Verticillium dahliae.  Root-lesion nematodes facilitate disease development by feeding on potato roots and creating wounds where the fungus can enter. There is an interaction between lesion nematode and Verticillium wilt that causes early dying,” said Saad Hafez, a University of Idaho nematologist based at the Parma Research and Extension Center.

Managing nematodes, then, not only can increase both quality and yield but can also impact the cost of bringing the crop to harvest and decrease the risk of losing a field to disease.

The first step to successful nematode management is learning which nematodes are putting pressure on a field and at what levels. Growers generally sample in the fall.

“About 30 percent of the Snake River Plain potato acreage is infested with the root-knot species and about 90 percent has lesion nematodes of one species or the other,” said Kelly Luff, Bayer potato technical representative for Idaho. “A grower needs to keep an eye on his populations, take soil samples and keep them monitored. If nematodes aren’t reduced, the populations can escalate until they are difficult to manage and it becomes unprofitable to raise a crop.”

The economic threshold for treatment varies across states, is specific to the species of nematode, and considers the field history.

“Essentially most acres have a nematode issue of one sort or the other. That doesn’t mean the population meets the threshold for treatment, but it will be there,” Luff said. “So, a grower needs to keep an eye on his populations, keep them monitored.”

To make an effective treatment decision, growers should couple their nematode sample report with information on the field history.

“If the field had early dying in the past, the grower needs to treat at any nematode level,” Luff explained.

Combine tools to manage nematodes

Once a grower knows what he’s up against, the next question is which option offers the most efficacious and cost-effective treatment. Many Idaho growers have the option to implement a non-fumigant treatment program, which is preferred for ease of use.

A field under low pressure from nematodes can be treated with a combination of Velum® Prime and Movento®. At higher nematode levels, the same treatments can be used following a kick-start from a fumigant. Any crop management plan, of course, must comply with label instructions for each material.

Luff recommends two sequential applications of Velum Prime at planting, in ½ to ¾ inches of water, at the 6- to 10-inch plant stage or at row closure, depending on the nematode species and population. Roughly 21 days after the Velum Prime application, Luff recommends treating with Movento and then making a second sequential Movento application 14 days later.

Luff offered an example of a fumigation-based program for root-knot nematodes, Columbia and Northern. “Typically for root-knot nematodes, you want to start with a fall fumigation, then apply Velum Prime at planting,” Luff said. “Depending on the situation you may want to make another application of Velum Prime at your first irrigation or at row closure.”

Velum Prime and Movento can also be used to augment an oxamyl program.  Application timings are flexible depending on nematode and disease pressure in a given field.

Luff also recommends applying a protectant fungicide between the Velum Prime applications and ending the season with additional protectant applications. Those fungicides can add disease protection and help with resistance management.

The Payoff: Higher Yield and Improved Quality

“The big advantage of using Velum Prime is the nematode management plus the disease management,” Luff said. “We talk a lot about early dying complex, but we can’t forget early blight and white mold. Velum Prime offers suppression of these diseases.”

Data shows a Velum Prime plus Movento program increases yield up to 82 hundredweight per acre. With systemic activity, Movento offers sustained in-season nematode protection and prevents juvenile nematodes from developing. The disease and nematode control offered by Velum Prime add to the return on investment. Velum Prime offers wide-spectrum nematicidal activity and is an excellent management tool for root-knot and root-lesion nematodes. Velum Prime also suppresses early blight and white mold. The overall impact of improved root health also helps create a healthy bottom line.

Whichever direction a grower takes, the goal is efficient, effective nematode management to protect potato roots and increase yield and quality.


©2019 Bayer Group. Always read and follow label instructions. Bayer, the Bayer Cross, Movento and Velum are registered trademarks of Bayer Group. Not all products are registered in all states. For additional product information, call toll-free 1-866-99-BAYER (1-866-992-2937) or visit our website at www.cropscience.bayer.us. Bayer CropScience LP, 800 North Lindbergh Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63167.

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