The Shields Lab at Cornell University is asking farmers interested in ordering or applying the biocontrol nematodes proven successful for limiting the highly destructive alfalfa snout beetle to contact the Lab at 607-591-1493 before April 29 if they are planning to apply the nematodes before July 1.

The Shields Lab is also interested in talking with anyone interested in rearing the biocontrol nematodes as a business enterprise.

Farmers have the option to purchase a shipment of the biocontrol nematodes from the Shields Lab or to request assistance in rearing the nematodes themselves.

The cost to purchase the biocontrol nematodes from the Shields Lab is $26 per acre. Growers using their own labor to rear the biocontrol nematodes may reduce the cost to approximately $15 per acre.

Approximately five agribusinesses in the region provided custom application of the nematodes in 2015.

Applications must be made by September 1. The April 29 ordering date from the Lab includes the opportunity for a ten percent discount for delivery for application by June 15. A ten percent discount will be provided to participants paying upon delivery.

The Shields Lab recommends applying the nematodes to alfalfa fields in the seeding or first production year for best economic impact.

If farmers choose to apply the biocontrol nematodes to more established alfalfa fields, the nematodes will establish and attack snout beetle larvae present in the fields, but will not assist with stand retention.

The Shields Lab plans to discontinue its rearing of the nematodes by 2021.

“Alfalfa snout beetle will remain a potential threat as long as alfalfa is grown in the region, so we are also very interested in assisting anyone interested in rearing these biocontrol nematodes as a business enterprise so this control agent remains available to Northern New York farmers after 2021,” said Elson Shields, Cornell entomologist.