Pest could pose new threat to some Louisiana crops, state says

Pest could pose new threat to some Louisiana crops, state says
State officials say that the root-knot nematode could impact soybean, sugarcane and sweet potato crops.

BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - State officials warn farmers to be on the lookout for a new pest that attacks certain crops grown in Louisiana.

The root-knot nematode is a serious pest which has a high rate of reproduction and can impact soybean, sugarcane and sweet potato crops.  It has also been known to attack varieties of tomato, soybean and sweet potato that are considered resistant to the Southern root-knot nematode species which is common in Louisiana.

The pest was first identified in the U.S. in Florida on ornamental nursery stock in 2001. In 2011, it was identified in North Carolina. It was recently confirmed in Morehouse Parish.

The LSU AgCenter is working to determine if other parts of the state have been affected. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry is currently working with the producer to reduce the spread of the nematode and monitor the situation.

"The nematode species is often transported by equipment," said LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. "Cleaning soil off of equipment, including tires and footwear before going to another field is one of the best ways to reduce the spread of this nematode."

If you suspect this pest is on your property, please contact your local county agent's office or the LDAF at 225-952-8100.