Our plant disease clinic has been in business since March of 1998. The clinic started with nematodes only and in fall 1999 we expanded with soil borne diseases. Nematodes are microscopic little worms that attack most agricultural crops, lawns, home gardens and ornamentals. Damage can be from cosmetic damage on potatoes to lawns that are turning brown and die. Besides direct damage caused by nematodes, there is an indirect damage. Nematodes poke little holes in root systems of a plant that are entry ports for diseases. These secondary diseases can be as damaging as the nematodes themselves. In a lot of cases a fungicide does not work because the population of the secondary diseases is very low. What does work is to manage the nematode population and thus control the diseases.
Western Laboratories has greatly increased the staff to accommodate the increased requests of nematode analysis. Currently we have 5 people that can identify nematodes and we can process 400 – 450 nematode samples per day depending of the texture. We needed this capacity due to the increase of grid samples and variable rate fumigation on potatoes and onions. With variable rate fumigation we can cut the costs of fumigation tremendous. We only fumigate those areas in the field that require fumigation and the rest of the fields receive a cheaper base treatment.
Savings of $4000 to $7000 per pivot are not uncommon with the use of variable rate fumigation.
Western Laboratories has their own crew to collect grid samples, we process the samples and identify the nematodes at a reduced cost. We also can make the fumigation maps (GPS files) for your VRT controller. All the work is done in house and that gives the grower the most value for their money spend.
Our nematologist has been with Western Laboratories since 1998. He graduated from the University of Wageningen (Netherlands). His name is Harry Kreeft and you can email him or call the Lab with your questions.