Nematodes in grassland and maize often underestimated
19 April 2022
If grass wants to grow poorly or corn lags in growth, there is often something wrong with the soil. This may be a structure problem, but plant parasitic nematodes can also be the culprit. A soil analysis provides insight into the cause.
Grass is less susceptible to nematode damage; maize, on the other hand, is much more susceptible. In a grass-maize rotation high densities of harmful nematodes can develop relatively unnoticed. Especially under difficult growing conditions, such as warm and dry periods, the risk of nematode damage increases. The past summers have shown this in practice on a regular basis.
Harmful nematodes that can multiply in the crop slowly increase in number and thus cause more and more damage to the roots of the plants. This can go unnoticed for a long time. Often the crop does grow 'through' it. But if you pay close attention, you will see that the growth in the spring, often in spots, lags behind.
Nematodes can also cause the necessary damage and yield losses when a different crop is grown, for example by renting out land. The build-up of a nematode population should therefore be prevented as much as possible:
- Bad spots in the crop cost yield anyway
- Nutrients, such as nitrogen, are not absorbed optimally and are therefore lost.
- If you are going to rent or swap land, or grow another forage crop, nematodes can really cause a problem if the population is too large.
Crops often grown on leased land, such as potato, carrots and flower bulbs, are also particularly susceptible to Pratylenchus penetrans (common root lesion nematode). This nematode has many host plants and reproduces strongly on grass and corn. The cultivation of African Americans controls these nematodes very well.
Besides Meloidogyne chitwoodi (corn root-knot nematode) that causes damage in potatoes, carrots and gladiolus, Meloidogyne naasi (grass root-knot nematode) is also becoming an increasing problem on heavier soils. This is not only the case in grass itself, but also in beets and onions.
It is therefore good to detect nematodes in the soil at an early stage. This way you can take measures to prevent worse. Think for example of the choice of a less susceptible succeeding crop.