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Agronomic Services — News Release


Contact: Rick Morris, regional agronomist
NCDA&CS Agronomic Division
(910) 866-5485

Before planting soybeans, check for nematodes

BLADENBORO — In southeastern North Carolina, plant-parasitic nematodes are a fact of life. These microscopic worms thrive in sandy soils and when unchecked, can reduce crop vigor and yield. The good news is that growers in our state have the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to help identify these pests and to offer advice on how to manage them.

Although planting is near or under way for many crops, there is still time to check for nematodes in soybean fields. Soybeans account for about 32 percent of all field-crop acres in the state, and every year, growers lose about 10 percent of potential bean yield to nematode damage. In spite of the acreage planted and the predictable loss, only 5 percent of all samples received by the NCDA&CS Nematode Assay laboratory come from soybean fields.

Nematode problems often show up soon after planting. Unfortunately, early symptoms are seen too late for corrective measures. Nematode problems must be identified and addressed before planting. Growers who submit samples for nematode assay now may still have a chance to implement appropriate management options. They will also be able to use the results to plan ahead for effective rotations.

As a general rule, samples for nematode assay should be taken toward the end of the growing season or in the fall when nematode populations are at their peak. However, taking samples now is much better than not taking them at all, especially in southeastern counties where they tend to be such a problem. It would also be a good time to take soil samples for nutrient analysis if this has not already been done.

Instructions for collecting soil samples for nematode assay are available online at Samples must be accompanied by a completed information form and the required fee of $2 per sample. When filling out the information form, be sure to indicate whether you will be growing double-cropped beans or full-season beans. The more information you provide, the better your management recommendations will be.

Samples, fees and completed information forms can be sent by mail to the NCDA&CS Nematode Assay Section, 1040 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1040. However, if samples are sent via a carrier such as FedEx or UPS, they must be addressed to the laboratory's physical location at 4300 Reedy Creek Road, Raleigh, NC 27607-6465. The U.S. Postal Service will not deliver packages to the Reedy Creek Road address.

Once samples reach the lab, results are available in about five working days. Reports list the numbers and types of nematodes in the soil, their hazard level to the intended crop, and suggestions on how to control them. Nematode assay results are posted online at the NCDA&CS Agronomic Division Web site, Growers also receive a copy in the mail.

Sample boxes, information forms and sampling instructions are available from county Cooperative Extension offices and the NCDA&CS Agronomic Division. Growers in Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Cumberland and Robeson counties are urged to contact NCDA&CS regional agronomist Rick Morris for information and advice on taking samples and managing nematode or nutrient problems. He can be reached by phone at (910) 866-5485 or by e-mail at

Growers in other counties can visit to find contact information for the regional agronomist with responsibilities for their area.


Last Update August 1, 2007


NCDA&CS Agronomic Services Division, Colleen M. Hudak-Wise, Ph.D., Director
Mailing Address: 1040 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1040
Physical Address: 4300 Reedy Creek Road, Raleigh NC 27607-6465
Phone: (919) 733-2655; FAX: (919) 733-2837

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