Field trial reveals significant results in nematode control

UCCE Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor Tom Turini, center, inspects tomato roots at a university field day conducted by UCCE Farm Advisor Joe Nunez, left.

Agribiz: Nimitz nematicide shows promise in UC tomato trials

Nimitz just received EPA approval. Arizona and California approval pending. Nematodes are a significant concern for California growers.    

A new nematicide labeled for use in cucurbits and fruiting vegetables is showing good results in a University of California (UC) trial.

The UC trial conducted by Kern County Farm Advisor Joe Nunez showed that Nimitz, when applied a week ahead of transplant in canning tomatoes, successfully killed nematodes at the university farm near Shafter, Calif.

Nunez says the trial was conducted with the new chemical nematicide Nimitz he observed in a small plot of processing tomatoes in Central California. Nunez is conducting a similar trial in carrots to test the effectiveness of the product.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval was just granted for the nematicide for use on cucumbers, cantaloupes, watermelon, honeydew, squash, tomatoes, okra, eggplant, and peppers (bell and non-bell).

Concurrent registration procedures are underway in Arizona and California. Registration in the states is expected by the end of this year, according to Herb Young with Adama.

Nunez’ tomato trials are in sandy soil widely infested with nematodes. The canning tomatoes were planted as transplants.

For his trial, Nunez contrasted the use of Nimitz with a control (no fumigants or other products). In the control plantings, nematode galling was heavy and extensive, which Nunez believes could also open up the plants to other disease issues. With Nimitz, the root zones were clean. Visible differences in the plants above ground were also evident.

Nunez saw his best results using Nimitz one week ahead of transplanting by incorporating the label rate of 3.5 pints per acre into the soil with water. This is the minimum application rate listed on the label. A maximum label rate of 5 pints per acre is listed on the label.

According to Adama, Nimitz' manufacturer, the product includes the active ingredient fluensulfone which belongs to a new class of chemistry that makes it a “true nematicide.”

Nunez shared the product's ease of application and safety requirements surrounding its use.

Nimitz comes with the least-restrictive signal word of “caution” on the label, meaning the only personal protective equipment requirements for the product are long-sleeved shirts and pants, chemical resistant gloves, and shoes plus socks.

Nunez says the brand of chemistry is safer and easier to apply than soil fumigants which regulators are phasing out.

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