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The Importance of Nematodes in Early Growth and Development of Cotton

T.L. Kirkpatrick


The effects of plant-parasitic nematodes on the growth and productivity of host plants including cotton have been a topic of research for many years. Nematodes are obligate parasites that generally result in suppression of yield but seldom result in death of the host. Mobility of plant-parasitic nematodes is low, and rate of population increase is relatively slow. These factors have formed the basis for development of predictive models and forecasting systems to estimate crop yield loss (Barker et al., 1985; Seinhorst, 1979). However, the main focus of this research has been related to plant yield or yield suppression due to nematodes rather than actual effects on plant growth or development. Various methods have been used to describe and quantify the relationship between nematode population density, generally preplant, and crop performance (yield). Critical point damage functions that relate yield data collected under controlled conditions to preplant nematode population densities, or models that relate the ratio of final (harvest) population density and preplant density to yield loss (Ferris, 1985; Seinhorst, 1965) have been most often used (Duncan, 1991). These models have allowed development of nematode advisory programs in many areas and with numerous crops to assist farmers in decision-making relative to nematode control strategies (Imbriani, 1985), but they have generally not been descriptive of effects of nematodes on young plants early in the growing season.

Reprinted from Proceedings of the 1996 Beltwide Cotton Conferences pp. 242 - 243
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998