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Development of On-Farm Protocols for Assessing Soil Nematode Infestation Levels in Vegetable Fields and Making the Appropriate Management Decision 2006

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Project Leaders: B. Gugino, G. Abawi, J. Ludwig, Dept. of Plant Pathology, NYSAES, Cornell University, Geneva

Cooperators: C. MacNeil, C. Hoepting, Cornell Cooperative Extension Vegetable Program

Abstract: The northern root-knot (NRK) and lesion nematodes are the two primary nematode pathogens of vegetables grown in New York . Currently, there are no known resistant varieties and the crop rotations practiced are generally not effective. Also, it is often not cost-effective to rotate with less profitable non-host crops, thus nematicides are heavily relied upon. Three grower training sessions in the on-farm assessment of root-knot and lesion nematode infestations were held in Orange , Oswego and Yates Counties on 16 May, 27 and 29 June, respectively. Over 50 growers attended the sessions to learn how-to sample targeted fields, set-up and maintain the bioassay plants, record the severity of diagnostic visual symptoms and make the appropriate management decision, if needed. In cooperation with Cornell vegetable extension educators, 13 fields were soil sampled and assessed for nematodes using the developed bioassays. Several growers also conducted their own on-farm assessments. Five growth chamber experiments were conducted to further relate symptom severity on the soybean bioassay roots with natural lesion nematode infestation levels. The results indicated that the number of lesions caused by lesion nematode on soybean roots were correlated to soil infestation levels of this nematode, although there was considerable variability among the tests and further investigation is needed. The use of these soil bioassays as an IPM tool will decrease the use of chemical nematicides, increase profitability and contribute to improved environmental quality.