The department’s nematode lab processes about 36,000 samples each year, making it the busiest lab of its kind in the nation.
As section chief for the nematode lab, Dr. Weimin Ye is there to make sure the lab runs smoothly. For his contribution to the department, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler recognized Ye as the 2012 Employee of the Year at a recent ceremony in Raleigh.
We visited Ye at the nematode lab. In the video above, he takes us on a tour of the lab, and discusses how the department helps farmers identify and treat nematode infestations.
There are about 26 nematode species that affect farmers in North Carolina. Nematodes are microscopic worms that feed on root systems of plants. Because of the worms’ size, farmers cannot tell if they have a nematode problem by sight. In fact, most nematode infestations look similar to nutrient deficiencies above ground. The only way to be sure you have nematodes is by submitting a soil sample for a nematode assay.
The nematode lab can determine how many nematodes are present in your soil and what species are present. Under Ye’s leadership, the lab has added DNA analysis to its offered services, making the test even more accurate. With this information, nematology technicians can make recommendations for farmers specific to the amount and type of nematodes present. Control solutions include introducing resistant crop varieties, crop rotation or using chemicals to treat the area.
Growers should consider getting a nematode assay at least once a year. For more information about the nematode lab, including instructions on submitting a soil sample, go to the Agronomic Services Division website.