Manage Nematodes to Boost Yield

Protect your fields from nematodes

Nematodes are unseen thieves in the soil. They’re microscopic yield robbers whose impact is seen by looking for what isn’t there: a healthy root system.

Guarding the root zone is essential to maximizing yield and profit potential. Growers can pair their experience with innovative technology from Bayer to get the season started right, then apply their well-honed management skills to bring in a profitable harvest.

The goal of a good nematode management program is to keep the population densities low during the critical early development phase of the plant, setting the stage for the healthy root system that’s essential to support a full boll load. Bayer Senior Technical Service Representative Russ Perkins points out that Bayer offers three control options for nematodes: root-knot nematode resistant varieties, nematicide seed treatment and an in-furrow nematicide.

Nematode-resistant varieties boost yield in fields under pressure

How do you know when a field is under pressure from nematodes? Chances are your yield records will tell the story. For a definitive answer, growers or consultants should pull nematode samples at harvest. Even if those samples weren’t pulled, a root-knot nematode resistant variety is a first stop on the road to recovering lost yield.

FiberMax® 1911GLT, a variety in the Bayer lineup, offers very good tolerance to root-knot nematode and Verticillium wilt, as well as bacterial blight resistance.

“It’s not often that you see all three of those in a disease package of a single variety, so we’re very happy about that,” Bayer Western Region Agronomic Manager Kenny Melton says. FM 1911GLT comes from a FiberMax 2011GT background, which also has good tolerance to root-knot nematode and Verticillium wilt, as well as resistance to bacterial blight. FM 2011GT was the most widely planted of the variety on the High Plains in 2016.

FM 1911GLT also offers the high yield potential and high gin turnout that growers expect from FM 2011GT, then builds on the brand by offering added weed management flexibility and worm protection.

“What we’re really excited about is the fact that the disease package from FM 2011GT carried over into the next variety that’s out of this same background, FiberMax 1911GLT, which has the LibertyLink trait, to give growers the flexibility to spray Liberty herbicide over it, and also has the TwinLink gene in it for worm protection,” Melton says. “The FM 2011GT only has the GlyTol gene in it.”

Seed treatment is effective in fields with low nematode pressure

To finish strong, a cotton crop needs a vigorous start. Choosing the right seed treatment to protect from nematodes, diseases and pests is essential. COPeO® Prime, a true nematicide that brings a new mode of action to the seed treatment segment, is available exclusively on FiberMax and Stoneville® cotton seed.

“COPeO Prime paired with Aeris and Trilex Advanced is a package offering for Stoneville and FiberMax cotton seed,” Perkins says. “This combination presents the best the industry has to offer from a seed treatment for thrips and nematode management.”

"COPeO Prime paired with Aeris and Trilex Advanced is a package offering for Stoneville and FiberMax cotton seed. This combination presents the best the industry has to offer from a seed treatment for thrips and nematode management.”

- Russ Perkins, Bayer Senior Technical Services Representative

A good seed treatment provides immediate protection to developing roots. That root system helps the plant withstand stress later in the season, so the early time period is key. In addition to COPeO Prime, Bayer offers these highly effective seed treatment options for controlling early-season pests and disease:  Aeris®, Trilex® Advanced and EverGol® Prime.

Velum® Total increases profit potential under moderate to heavy pressure

Growers also have an in-furrow option, Velum® Total, for controlling nematodes and early-season pests, including thrips. That’s important news for growers since nematodes exert moderate to heavy pressure on 35 to 40 percent of the cotton fields on the High Plains.

“With Velum Total, we’re seeing excellent control of root-knot nematode,” Perkins says.

In addition to promoting root health, Velum Total offers long-lasting control and systemic protection from nematodes and early-season pests, including thrips. Velum Total can be applied in variable rate and site-specific applications for economically efficient, customized treatment based on pest pressure.

Ultimately, the key as always, is to know your field — and that includes understanding the level of nematode pressure. Then, pick a solid variety, match it with the right seed treatment and consider adding an in-furrow nematicide to enhance your opportunity for profit and increase your yield potential.

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