Potential Nematode Concern for Florida Hops Growers

Jaci Schreckengost Hops, Top Posts

As Florida growers are looking at possibilities for new crops available to the state, many University of Florida (UF) researchers are beginning to examine what problems growers could face in the future with these crops.

Johan Desaeger, a nematologist at UF’s Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (GCREC) in Wimauma, says his research station has been looking into nematodes in hops. In an ongoing project at the GCREC, researchers planted hops to see how nematodes affected the crop. This project is supported by some of the many microbreweries in the area who are interested in growing hops in Florida, he says.

While there are not many hops growers yet in the state, Desaeger says nematodes will most likely be something the growers will need to manage once hops becomes a more popular crop in Florida. The research done at GCREC found a significant number of root-knot nematodes in the hops crops.

Desaeger and his team are looking at ways to control nematodes in hops, as well as other crops across Florida, to help benefit growers that struggle with managing this pest.

At the GCREC, he says they test new nematicides that come out on the market to see if they can manage nematodes without the use of fumigants. However, it is important to point out that researchers have not stopped using fumigants altogether. Desaeger says he and other researchers still examine the effects of fumigants on the nematodes to try to improve the efficacy.

Desaeger adds that there are cultural practices, such as cover crops, being studied at the GCREC. Researchers want to determine which cover crops growers can use to provide another management tool for nematodes.

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Jaci Schreckengost

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