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David Sparks Ph.D. Nematode News
by David Sparks Ph.D., click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: October 06, 2017

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Say the word nematode and it’s kind of like saying tuberculosis. People get scared…particularly if you’re a farmer. A nematode is an unsegmented roundworm related to the round heartworms that sometimes harm people and pets. They’re also the most numerous multicellular animals on earth and are structurally simple organisms. Nematodes eat the roots of your plants. You cannot easily tell they are there except by the plant getting sick or dying. They can interfere with the proper functioning of the roots which either weakens or kills the plant.

A close relative of the cereal cyst nematode was discovered in Washington sometime back and scientists have assessed the significance of the discovery. Washington State University scientists say they’ve been dealing with a similar nematode for several years and don’t seem overly concerned. Here’s WSU’s Jim Moyer: “The recommended treatment for the pest is crop rotation and nematode-resistant wheat varieties. These practices keep nematode numbers low, thus reducing damage.”


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