Ag department: Plant pest found in Louisiana for 1st time
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Scientists have found a fast-reproducing plant pest in Louisiana for the first time — and it’s one that can attack many crops, including soybeans, sugarcane and sweet potatoes, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry said.
The roundworm, called the guava root-rot nematode or Meloidogyne enterolobii, is known to damage varieties of tomato, soybean and sweet potato that are resistant to a related pest, the Southern root-knot nematode.
It was recently confirmed in Morehouse Parish and the LSU AgCenter will make a statewide survey for it, the department said in a news release Friday.
The species was first identified in this country in 2001 in Florida, on ornamental nursery stock. It was found in 2001 in North Carolina.
“The nematode species is often transported by equipment,” said Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain. “Cleaning soil off of equipment, including tires and footwear, before going to another field is one of the best ways to reduce the spread of this nematode.”
He said anyone who thinks the pest may be on their property should call their local county agent or the Department of Agriculture and Forestry at 225-952-8100.