Do you know what’s eating your corn?

Published on: 17:59PM Jul 14, 2009
Corn growers fight many pests that eat away their yields, but there is one “hidden enemy” that is not well known: nematodes. Researchers say 10.2% of corn yield worldwide is lost every year to nematodes.

These microscopic, thread-like round worms inhabit soil and feed on crop root systems. They are barely more than a millimeter long and translucent, so they are typically invisible to the naked eye. There are about 4,000 known plant parasitic nematode species, and as many as 60 feed on or in corn roots in North America. Check out some common nematodes here.
Corn-damaging nematodes occur in every soil type, not just sandy soils. Many different species live in U.S. corn fields. In fact, the majority of corn nematode species are native to the U.S. and were present before corn was cultivated. The map shows nematode risk levels in the Midwest, and it is based on a survey of fields in counties with at least 25,000 corn acres. Samples were processed by five universities and one private lab, and corn plant parasitic nematodes could be found in every county sampled. One way to determine your nematode risk is to try a side-by-side trial with and without nematicides. 

There are options available to protect your crop, like a complete offer that includes nematicide, insecticide and fungicide.