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Nematicides, Starter Fertilizers, and Plant Growth Regulators Implementation into a Corn Production System

S. Till, K. Lawrence, P. Donald, and D. Schrimsher

September 2018


The southern root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne incognita, is one of the most important nematode pathogens in Alabama owing to its wide host range and yield loss on major agronomic crops. Management of root-knot nematode is undervalued in corn production owing to relatively low prices for corn at the market, less obvious symptoms, and smaller yield losses compared with cotton and soybeans, plus an overall lack of management options. However, growing successive susceptible crops in root-knot nematode-infested fields only heightens the risk of future yield loss. We evaluated use of starter fertilizers and plant growth regulators with nematicides as an economically viable option to reduce the impact of M. incognita on corn. In 2 years of research, we concluded that the combination of all three inputs provided positive economic returns in only one out of four trials. In 2016, the location with the lower root-knot nematode population density saw significant advantages with these input combinations. In 2017, dramatic advantages in early plant growth were observed with a variety of combinations, but owing to unfavorable growing conditions, yield increases were not observed. We concluded that an early plant growth increase due to applications of starter fertilizers, plant growth regulators, and nematicides often did not correlate to increased yield, although the potential exists.


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