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Tomato Growers Asked to Assist with Fusarium Wilt Research

Brian German Field & Row Crops, Industry

Tomato growers are being asked to assist with ongoing research looking at the interaction between root-knot nematodes and fusarium wilt. Researchers have hypothesized that applications of nematicides in fields with fusarium wilt can help address both issues. Managing Director of the California Tomato Research Institute (CTRI), Zach Bagley said they are looking for growers dealing with both root-knot nematode and fusarium wilt.

Tomato Growers

“If you suspect this to be the case in your field, but you’re not sure, that’s okay. Give us a call and we can take samples, confirm it, provide those sample reports back to you as the grower or PCA,” Bagley noted. “Then if it is the case, that there’s both of those pests and diseases present in your field, the study this will benefit started this year is looking at the interactive effect of these two pests to overall plant health and yield.”

This particular research project is one of several ongoing studies being funded by CTRI. Tomato growers are encouraged to reach out and participate in the research to provide a more comprehensive picture of the issue. “We’ve got about six field trials in several different locations out for this year. We expect that the study will likely continue into the next year,” said Bagley.

Damage from root-knot nematodes can generally predispose tomato plants to fusarium wilt infection. Bagley explained that anecdotally they know there are fields out there addressing both issues. The assumption is that nematicides can have a positive impact on instances of fusarium wilt. The research project looks to test that hypothesis.

“We’ve found through several years of trialing of new and different nematicides with the farm advisors out of the Shafter Research Station in Bakersfield that these nematicides really do a good job,” said Bagley. “This is one way as fusarium wilt expands its range that we want to make sure that we are recognizing we can help to control it by also taking care of the nematode issue in fields.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West