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Planning ahead for nematicide applications

An awareness of the increasing risk of root knot and free living nematodes, and the damage they can cause, should be a key consideration for carrot and parsnip growers as they plan their nematicide application programmes ready for next season.

An awareness of the increasing risk of root knot and free living nematodes, and the damage they can cause, should be a key consideration for carrot and parsnip growers as they plan their nematicide application programmes ready for next season.

These soil pests can cause losses of up to 30% in the saleable value of carrot and parsnip crops, meaning they are a major concern for this sector. 

Dr Colin Fleming, senior lecturer in parasitology at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute and at Queens University in Belfast, explains why increasing levels of nematode populations in UK soils are being seen.

“Nematodes generally do better when temperatures are slightly elevated and there is a high level of moisture in soils.

“Severe nematode damage often coincides with warm and wet springs. And, with climatic predictions for warmer weather, this is likely to favour the activity and persistency of nematodes in the future,” says Dr Fleming.

He adds that the loss of some traditional nematicide products has also exacerbated the problem.

Dr Fleming explains, that the damage caused by nematodes is usually most severe in the early stages of crop development, which subsequently has a significant impact to yield and aesthetic appearance which reduces the saleable end value. “Therefore, applying a nematicide early, in the first six weeks, is vital to help reduce the risk of knock-on effects caused by the pests.”

With increasing pressures from retailers to cut down on pesticide usage, and with historic product shortages to be mindful of, growers should consider seeking alternative nematicides to control these pests this coming season.

Morley Benson, Certis’ key account manager explains how NEMguard DE (garlic extract), is a viable, alternative nematicide to help control free living and root knot nematodes in carrots and parsnips.

“Although the product formulation is based on a food grade active ingredient, on-farm grower experience, as well as a robust set of trials data has meant that NEMguard DE is the first garlic based nematicide backed by a CRD registration,” says Mr Benson.

As a naturally derived product with patented production technology, NEMguard DE has no maximum residue level (MRL), and only carries a seven day harvest interval, making it suitable for short-term rotations, with a good fit with SUD requirements and IPM programmes.

“NEMguard DE is an effective granular nematicide that works best when used in sandy soils, and when there is sufficient moisture after application, through irrigation or rainfall. This will ensure the product can move through the soil profile effectively, having the greatest impact on free living and root knot nematodes.

“Growers should speak to their agronomist to discuss how NEMguard DE could fit into their system, and notify suppliers early if they wish to make an order,” adds Mr Benson.