Nematodes are sneaky little devils, capable of stealing hundreds of pounds of cotton from right under a farmer’s nose before he has an inkling that his pocket is being picked.
The pests are widespread in West Texas cotton fields, and control options have been limited. In recent years, farmers and crop consultants lost both Temik and Vydate, leaving them dependent on rotation and nematode-resistant or tolerant varieties.
Two new products from Bayer CropScience offer new alternatives, particularly in combination with resistant varieties.
“Every grower has nematodes,” says Bayer’s Frank Rittemann. “Population levels and damage vary, but producers need to manage these yield robbers.” He discussed the problem and new products at a recent Bayer FiberMax field day at test plots near Idalou, Texas.
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Gary Evitt, a Lubbock County cotton grower who farms near the Bayer facility, says nematode infestation is one of his big challenges. “They have been a problem. I planted a resistant variety, FM1911, this year, and it has done well. I used Temik in the past, and then Vydate; but (the EPA) took both of those away.”
Rittemann says a new seed treatment, Copeo Prime, available for the 2017 season, offers a new mode of action for nematode control. “It works across all types of nematodes,” he says.
Recommended use will be for light to moderate nematode pressure, and in combination with resistant varieties. “Bayer will specify which FiberMax or Stoneville varieties to select,” he says.
Trials have shown Copeo Prime and resistant varieties may add as much as 45 pounds per acre to cotton yields with light to moderate nematode populations. “This is the first true nematicide seed treatment,” Rittemann says. “Copeo protects the seed for approximately 40 days. Benefits are consistent.”
For heavier nematode populations, he recommends Vellum Total, a broad spectrum nematicide introduced two years ago and available across the cotton belt last year. “Vellum covers a larger area (in the soil) than Copeo Prime, which just protects the seed,” he says. “We’ve seen good yield response with Vellum in heavy nematode populations.” It can be applied with pop-up fertilizer.