In the future, Davis expects to see refinements in nematode resistance breeding techniques with improved gene mapping and gene sequencing. “We will develop more and better genetic markers and new sources of resistance, especially to root knot nematodes.”

Scott Monfort, University of Arkansas, said until better tools come along nematode management will include a combination of practices. “We have to bring ideas and tools together,” he said.

Top of that list of tools will be sampling. “That’s the most important thing,” he said. “We have to identify the species and the population density. Then we can make management decisions.”

Resistance and rotation will play key roles. “And we have to learn the limitations of available chemistry. We have to bridge the gaps among the tools available. Field identification will be a key. Research and Extension recommendations will blend with historical data to develop precision agriculture techniques.”

Mapping will be important, Monfort said, to assess damage, identify multiple species and to determine where to apply chemicals. “We need to assess thresholds across soil types and learn how to manage multiple nematode species. We need better laboratory extrapolation, increase breeding efforts and (learn to use) a combination of nematicides.”

Growers, industry, and universities have to buy in to make the programs work, he said. “Growers may need to become more aggressive with nematode control. We need to understand that nematodes may not be the only problem in a field. We should use a holistic approach that considers water, fertility, weeds, tillage practices and rotation.

“But all that will be lost if we don’t sample. It’s not that expensive and is essential for precision agriculture. We have to know where the population is. We don’t predict, we sample to make sure.”

Monfort said growers must fix other problems as they manage nematodes. “Yield monitors and mapping will help. But we have to determine if maps reflect only a nematode problem.

“Biological controls may help but we will need to use them with other products. They will not replace Temik.”