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Farmers growing their own remedy to alfalfa snout beetle

Martha Ellen Published on 26 November 2010
Twenty years of research into controlling a beetle that destroys alfalfa has led to what can be a homegrown remedy.

The larvae of the alfalfa snout beetle, an invasive species that likely came to Oswego in boat ballast in the 19th century, feed on the roots of alfalfa, a valuable north country crop.

For the first 15 years of research into using native nematodes — which are microscopic worms — to combat the beetle, researchers focused on the Champion farm of John E. Peck. They realized the nematodes were turning up in unexpected places, probably by hitching a ride on a human or on farm machinery.

By 2007, researchers were working on a widespread way to distribute the nematodes, peppering 120 fields in six counties with them since 2008.  FG

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