June is the time to test for nematodes in corn

There are no good ways to control nematodes in corn once the crop is planted. Votivo has proven effective as a nematicide when applied as a seed treatment. However, because it adds cost, not everyone chose to add it. Companies varied in their policies for adding and charging for treatments.

Nematodes have traditionally been thought of as soybean pests – the soybean cyst nematode. In recent years, though, it became apparent that other nematodes attack corn, particularly in lighter soils. What’s not known is how widespread nematode infestation might be.

The way to see if there is a corn nematode problem is to do soil samples in June, said Dave Nanda, director of genetics and technology for Seed Consultants. Obviously, you’ve already made your decisions for the year as whether to apply the nematicide or not. What you’re looking for by testing in June is looking ahead to making the most economical decisions next year. Plus, this information might explain any bobbles along the way in this year’s corn crop.

Many of the labs that test soil samples also look for nematodes. Consult these labs around the state for sampling directions, and for instructions on how to handle the samples once they’re collected. It’s different than handling samples for soil sampling for nutrient information.

Nanda suggests that another way to tell if you have nematodes is to use test strips with the nematicide in fields to see if there is a yield increase. If the treatment helped, there should be something a 6 to 8 bushel per acre yield increase, he said.

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