University of Idaho nematologist Saad Hafez warned growers that populations of nematodes might explode this season following the recent mild winter.
Hafez said the life cycles, feeding, and multiplication rates of the soil-borne pests are highly influenced by temperature. Deep frost and low temperatures reduce their populations. Therefore, the potential damage to this year's crop could be great.
While soil tests can determine the initial population of nematodes in a field prior to planting, Hafez says there is no accurate way to determine how many nematodes are present during the growing season. This nematode causes bumpy skins and discolored tissue beneath the skin of tubers.
He says growers whose fields have a history of rootknot nematode may benefit from harvesting early and not storing their crop. Nematodes continue to lay eggs in storage.