Cornell entomologist Elson Shields holds an alfalfa plant showing good root development and no damage by alfalfa snout beetle at a farmers' field day event in Belleville, NY.
Northern New York growers with alfalfa-snout-beetle problems are encouraged to apply native nematodes now for effective control.
Some farmers in that region have taken part in Northern New York Agricultural Development Program-funded research that has helped control the highly destructive beetle. They’re inexpensively rearing native nematodes according to a protocol developed by Cornell University entomologist Elson Shields and his lab research team. The treatment employs two types of Northern New York-native nematodes that work in shallow and deep soil levels. A step-by-step manual can be found here.
An initial treatment to establish a population of the nematodes should lead to long-term snout-beetle control, Cornell researchers believe. Many growers who are rearing and applying the nematodes are treating multiple and entire fields for widespread response.
The cost of nematode application: about 25% of the cost of losing an alfalfa stand to alfalfa snout beetle. The beetle can cost $175-230/acre in damages to a second-year alfalfa stand, according to a new Cornell economic study. More than 500,000 acres of New York ag land are known to be infested with the insect, which can destroy entire fields in one year. Learn more online.