Pursuing Season-Long Protection from Nematodes

Average Nematode Risk in the U.S.

While perusing some ag chat sites this week, we came across the following questions posted by a Midwest farmer.  Today Latham Product Manager Mark Grundmeier answers questions that are top-of-mind with farmers.

Q:  Is treating seed corn with VOTiVO® enough to protect the crop from nematodes throughout the growing season?  Extremely high numbers of nematodes have been confirmed on one of our farms.  We have ordered our corn seed for 2013 treated with VOTiVO.  What else should we do to eliminate nematodes, if possible?  This is by far the biggest yield robbing problem I have ever seen.  I thought Gray Leaf Spot was a big yield robber, but it’s nothing compared to the damage done last year by nematodes.  It was deceiving because symptoms all showed signs of drought, even under full irrigation and compaction.

A:  One reason nematodes are difficult to control is because stunted, yellowing, wilting corn is often mistaken for something else, such as drought in this case.  Therefore, nematodes often go undetected and the yield-robbing situation multiples – literally.

Nematodes are a growing problem across the Midwest, most likely due to trends of no-till farming.  Nematodes are sensitive to soil disturbance, so they tend to thrive in no-till situations.  Crop rotation isn’t an effective form of management as corn nematodes also feed on soybeans and grasses.  So what is an effective way to manage corn nematodes?

A new management option is using a seed treatment that moves onto the roots to provide early season protection against nematode feeding, says Dr. Greg Tylka from Iowa State University.  Poncho®/VOTiVO® seed treatment protects young plants from pests during critical early development stages, leading to healthier root development and stronger stands.

VOTiVO seed treatments act like a barrier, preventing nematodes from attaching to corn roots.  Applied directly to the seed, it helps prevent damage to early-season seedlings and roots before pests can strike.  Nematicides on the other hand, actually kill the nematodes on contact.  Avicta® from Syngenta Seedcare is a nematicide seed treatment that moves on the surface of the root.

Key benefits of Poncho®/VOTiVO® seed treatment:

  • Immediate Protection – Systemic agent protects valuable seed from the moment it’s planted
  • Pest Control – Biological agent creates a living barrier of protection against a wide range of nematodes, including Soybean Cyst, Root Knot and Reniform nematodes
  • Yield Potential – Promotes healthier root systems and a more vigorous and uniform crop, positively impacting yield

Benefits of Avicta® Brand Seed Treatments:

  • Avicta Complete Corn is a combination of Avicta nematicide and CruiserMaxx® Corn 250 (Cruiser® 5FS insecticide & Maxim® Quattro fungicide). It is also available with a higher rate of thiamethoxam for enhanced insect protection (0.5 mg ai/seed and 1.25 mg ai/seed respectively).
  • Provide instant protection against a wide variety of damaging nematode species
  • Consistently protect against a broad range of early-season insects and disease pathogens
  • Proven to help increase plant stand, vigor and yield potential
  • Much of the corn plant’s yield potential is determined in the early growth stages. Avicta Complete Corn provides immediate protection from day one.

The higher the population of nematodes, the greater the chances are that nematodes will break the barrier created by VOTivO.  So when extremely high populations of various species of corn nematodes are present, it may be beneficial to use both a seed treatment and a planter-applied nematicide.

Studies by Iowa State University show nematode management products may have a more pronounced beneficial effect in fields with very damaging nematode species and in fields with much greater plant-parasitic nematode population densities.