Both long-time Arkansas consultant Jan Streeter and grower Charles Williams, III, know that root knot and reniform nematodes can put a dent in cotton yields.
“Some growers think the lower production is due to sand blows,” says Streeter, who lives in Crawfordsville. “Part of the problem is sand blowing and the other part is nematodes in the sand. The sand normally gets the blame, while nematodes cause about half of the problem.”
Streeter recommends that growers sample their fields in the fall for nematodes and where they find them at a threshold level, be ready to hit them at planting. “We have many farms that do not have nematodes and do not justify treatment,” he says. “However, fields with real light sand are where you’ll usually find nematodes and then you’ll need all the help you can get.”
One nematode control option that Williams tried last year was N-Hibit Gold CST, a cotton seed treatment from Plant Health Care, for reducing both root knot and reniform nematode populations. N-Hibit contains the second generation harpin protein in a formulation that is available only through commercial seed treating facilities. This seed treatment may be used alone or in conjunction with other nematode treatments such as Avicta, Aeris or Temik.
The Charles L. Williams & Sons farm near Marion, AR, used N-Hibit on approximately 1,500 acres of cotton in 2007. “Our farm has several nematode hot spots where the samples turned up 5,000 to 6,000 root knot nematodes,” says Williams. “Those are places where we normally see big yield losses.
“We had 1,000 acres of N-Hibit treated cotton in one block and that field yielded more cotton than it ever has — and in a hot and dry year. We had another 100 acres of treated cotton that probably was the highest yielding field on our farm last year, averaging close to three bales per acre. The remainder of the N-Hibit treated cotton was a different variety that fell down on us.
“Several spots in some of our fields have an extreme root knot nematode problem,” Williams continued. “The treated cotton had definitely less pronounced spots in the field. In the past, I’ve had places where there was nothing growing in those spots, but we didn’t see anything like that last year in our N-Hibit treated cotton. We didn’t have checks, but I would say we made 100 to 150 pounds more lint per acre on our treated cotton over our untreated cotton.”
Williams also likes the convenience of N-Hibit. It can be commercially applied to the seed as opposed to other seed treatments that require a controlled system. “Our seed is treated at the dealer level. N-Hibit also is more economical,” Williams says. “We can use N-Hibit for nematode control and add an insecticide and/or fungicide seed treatment only where needed. N-Hibit is a good nematode management tool that pays for itself.”
Streeter has used N-Hibit for two years with several of his growers. “Two years ago I pulled nematode samples on one grower’s field and found that everything between his shop and his gin had nematodes,” he says. “So we decided to plant N-Hibit-treated cotton seed on all of that ground — about 600 acres. At harvest, the farm manager called me from his picker and said, ‘Hey, this N-Hibit treated seed looks like it’s doing better than the untreated seed.’ If the farm manager can see a difference, then you know N-Hibit works. On that acreage, we probably saw a 75-100 pound per acre yield increase over the untreated cotton.”
N-Hibit can be followed with ProAct, a foliar treatment. “We didn’t do that, but I wish we had on some ground,” Streeter says. “We’ll try that this year where we have real heavy nematode infested soils. N-Hibit helps you hold down the egg numbers. We have several nematode hot spots where there usually is a thin and short stand that finally dies out. Where we plant N-Hibit treated seed, those hot spots are less thin and there is some cotton where before there normally is none. N-Hibit draws the string a little tighter around your weak spots. N-Hibit pays for itself; it’s a bargain for what you get.”
Editor’s note: Some information for this story was provided by Plant Health Care, Inc. Root knot nematode photo credit: University of Maryland. Root knot nematode damage photo credit: University of Florida. Reniform nematode and root knot nematode damage photo credit: Louisiana State University.
Charles Williams, III
Reniform nematode damage.
Root knot nematode.
Root knot nematode damage.