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How to Test for Corn Nematodes

January 25, 2011
By: Margy Eckelkamp, Director of Content Development, Machinery Pete
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Reach into the farmer’s toolbox to learn the steps in testing for corn nematodes in episode 11 of Corn College TV. Farm Journal Associate Field Agronomist Missy Bauer uses her experience to give you tips straight from the field. Bauer explains there are two timings, at harvest or early in the season four to six weeks after planting.

“At either time, there is a similar procedure,” she says. “We’ll pull soil cores by probing through the root zone at a 45 degree angle about 6” away from the plant. In all, we’ll pull 10 to 12 soil cores and 5 rootballs. At harvest, we’ll pull a 12” core, and if sampling after planting, we’ll pull a 6” to 8” core.”
Bauer notes how important it is to keep the quality of the sample for accurate testing.
“We’ll need to be careful to keep nematode sample in condition,” she says. “Place the samples in a plastic bag, and bring a cooler to keep samples in. Nematodes are temperature dependent, and you’ll need to be careful to keep the integrity of your sample.”
If you have a “hot spot”, or an area that you know nematodes are in, don’t focus your sample in the middle of that area.
“Move out to the stunted area to pull samples. You’ll have a more representative sample because the  nematodes will move out to a new feeding area,” Bauer says. “In one example, in the bad area, there were 10 nematodes, in the stunted are there were more than 400 nematodes, and good area had a 100.”

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