Untangling root knot nematode for better cucurbits and fruiting vegetables
Nematode damage in Australian horticultural crops is a hidden cost that can be addressed with soil testing and the right nematicide, according to Syngenta Technical Services Lead, Shaun Hood.
Shaun said nematodes were an “out of sight out of mind” pest that could cause significant damage if left unchecked.
“You've got to do a soil test to find out what the background level of nematodes are in your field,” he said.
“If the population is high enough for economic damage, then a treatment is recommended.
“When you are getting good control of your nematodes, you've got a stronger plant that is better able to access and use the available water and nutrients, this in turn supports a dense canopy.
“This is important to protect the fruit from sun and maximise fruit quality, so there are numerous benefits in controlling nematodes."
Syngenta introduced TERVIGO® for the control of root knot nematode, utilising a formula that’s optimised for trickle application.
“The first application should go on at transplanting. You can then put on up to four more applications and adjust the rate according to the severity of the pest pressure,” Shaun said.
“With TERVIGO, the key is to apply it fortnightly. As the roots expand and get larger they are growing outside of the treatment zone. You have to keep treating every fortnight to keep those nematodes at bay."
Real world results
TERVIGO is currently registered in cucurbits and fruiting vegetables which are key crops where root knot nematodes are a major problem.
Shaun said TERVIGO was thoroughly evaluated and subsequently delivered excellent results in field trials and in commercial operations, involving leading growers across the country.
On one farm, an assessment of nematode numbers prior to planting revealed 35 nematodes per 200 mL of soil.
“We split the paddock in half,” Shaun said. “Half was treated with TERVIGO and we left the rest of the paddock untreated. Within two weeks those numbers had gone from 35 nematodes per 200 mL of soil up to 460 in the untreated section. There were zero nematodes detected in the TERVIGO treated crop, so the product worked very effectively.”
Shaun said seeing was believing when dealing with what’s happening beneath the surface.
“In the TERVIGO treated block, we had 85% more biomass compared to the untreated crop,” Shaun said. “Controlling the nematodes improved yield and fruit quality.”
Farmers should monitor levels of nematodes every season and implement cultural practices including good weed control between crops and crop rotation to help manage this pest.
Shaun said with TERVIGO being trickle applied, the product moves within the dripper wetting zone where it can work to protect the area directly around the plant’s roots. It also means that beneficial micro-organisms are free to move from outside the treated zone into the treated zone.
Prospect Agriculture consultant, Chris Monsour, from Bowen, said he had growers use TERVIGO in commercial crops under moderate root knot nematode pressure.
“We've been very happy with the control that we've achieved when using it, in accordance with the label directions,” he said.
“The key is that the growers were able to pick a crop, and were happy the product protected the yield."
Syngenta has developed a calculator to help agronomists and consultants determine what schedule of TERVIGO is required, including quantities.
Nutrien Ag Solutions Ayr agronomist, Steve Sunderland, said the TERVIGO calculator was an excellent tool for him and his farmers.
“It is so easy to use. It tells us and the farmer exactly how many litres per hectare are required for each application,” he said. “That gives the farmer a costing from the start."