AgCenter takes lead on stopping new nematode

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The LSU AgCenter is in the vanguard of an attempt to contain and eradicate a significant plant pest that has been identified in Morehouse Parish.

The guava root-knot nematode showed up in a shipment of seed potatoes from North Carolina, said AgCenter nematologist Charlie Overstreet.

Nematodes are microscopic worms, and the largest adult females are smaller than the head of a pin. They feed on plant roots, creating large galls that sap the strength from the plant. Although they are a problem in many crops, including soybeans and cotton, they’re particularly bad in sweet potatoes because the crop is the root itself.

Overstreet is undertaking an intensive survey of Louisiana fields to monitor the presence of the guava root-knot nematode. So far, he has not found any.

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