Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Lab Seeks Farmers to Order or Apply Worms to Fight Alfalfa Snout Beetle

From the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program:

The Shields Lab at Cornell University is asking farmers interested in ordering or applying the biocontrol nematodes (worms) proven successful for limiting the highly destructive alfalfa snout beetle to contact the Lab.

The lab can be reached at (607) 591-1493. Farmers should call before April 29 if they are planning to apply the nematodes before July 1.

The Shields Lab is also interested in talking with anyone interested in rearing the biocontrol nematodes as a business enterprise.

Farmers have the option to purchase a shipment of the biocontrol nematodes from the Shields Lab or to request assistance in rearing the nematodes themselves.

The cost to purchase the biocontrol nematodes from the Shields Lab is $26 per acre. Growers using their own labor to rear the biocontrol nematodes may reduce the cost to about $15 per acre.

Applications must be made by Sept. 1. The April 29 ordering date from the Lab includes the opportunity for a 10 percent discount for delivery for application by June 15. A 10 percent discount will be provided to participants paying upon delivery.

The Shields Lab recommends applying the nematodes to alfalfa fields in the seeding or first production year for best economic impact.

The Shields Lab plans to discontinue its rearing of the nematodes by 2021. 

"Alfalfa snout beetle will remain a potential threat as long as alfalfa is grown in the region, so we are also very interested in assisting anyone interested in rearing these biocontrol nematodes as a business enterprise so this control agent remains available to Northern New York farmers after 2021," sadi Cornell entomologist Elson Shields.

With long-term funding by the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, Shields and Cornell University Research Support Specialist Tony Testa developed a complete understanding of the life cycle of alfalfa snout beetle and created the science-based, field-tested protocol for using a combination of two species of native New York nematodes to control the beetle. 

Their guide to rearing and applying the biocontrol nematodes is online at 

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