The 2016 Annual Meeting of the Society of Nematologists (SON), held in Montreal, Canada (July 2016), represented a milestone as the first joint meeting with the Organization of Nematologists of Tropical America (ONTA). More than 240 experts from Central and South America, Asia, Africa and Europe participated in this important discussion about the imminent nematode threat that is resulting from current crop production strategies. Key takeaways focused on how use of nematode resistant / tolerant cultivars is masking a resistance build-up and the need for chemical and biological nematicides to address this unseen, yet growing industry challenge.
During the SON meeting I had the honor to be the session chair for a symposium on “Heterodera: Complexity of IPM in Field Crops” where experts from Germany, Brazil and the United States shared their view on control methods and limitations. Discussions dealt with the complexity of maintaining effective IPM practices for the three major crops that cyst nematodes damage – soybean, sugar beet and wheat.
These experts prioritized two key take-home messages:

    1. Most important: the use of nematode resistant / tolerant cultivars is masking the natural selection and extreme build-up of new resistance-breaking populations. The presence of tolerance gives farmers a strong level of unjustified security that they have their nematode problem under control. They are not aware of the imminent root health disaster that they are unintendedly promoting by moving away from IPM.
      Repeated use of resistant / tolerant cultivars and the resulting extensive population build-up will require extreme measures to bring populations back below damage threshold levels. In addition, the lack of visible above-ground symptoms reduces farmers’ recognition of the need for IPM measures and is further aggravating the root health problem.
  1. The need for chemical and biological nematicides will become more important in evolving this root health problem. These technologies may prove to be the only means of preventing future losses once new virulent populations reach extremely high densities in the field, and new resistant cultivars are not available.

SON Session team_adjusted_Mar17

The session team: Mathias Daub (Sugar Beet Cyst Nematode Expert), Julius Kuehn Institute, Elsdorf, Germany; Prof. Richard A. Sikora (Session Chair), University of Bonn, Germany; Richard Smalley (Cereal Cyst Nematode Expert), Oregon State University, United States; Prof. Gregory L. Tylka, (Soybean Cyst Nematode Expert), Iowa State University, United States; Pedro L. M. Soares (Soybean Cyst Nematode Expert), Universidade Estadual Paulista “Júlio de Mesquita Filho,” Jaboticabal, Brazil.

Program link: http://soilecology.ca/SONONTA2016/Program/SON-ONTA2016_conference_book.pdf