Source: ARS

A new russet potato germplasm line developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and collaborators could help cut the cost of using chemical fumigants to fight Columbia root-knot nematodes.

The wormlike pests are problematic in the Pacific Northwest, where two-thirds of America's potatoes are grown, as well as in Florida. Although fumigating the soil before planting time diminishes the pest's numbers, the practice isn't cheap, with some chemicals costing $300 per acre. Beneficial, soil-dwelling insects can also be harmed, according to geneticist Chuck Brown, with the ARS Vegetable and Forage Crops Research Unit in Prosser, Wash.

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