Crop focus
April 18, 2024

Tobacco Nematode Control: the synergistic role of fertilization

Despite the production decrease recorded from 2000 to-date, tobacco has played an important role in the production landscape of our country for some time, recently sanctioned by the agreement signed by Masaf with the three main brands for the transformation of this raw material, thanks to which the Italian tobacco supply chain will benefit from significant investments in the medium term.

With its 40,000 tons produced in 2023, Italy is the largest tobacco producer country in Europe. During the same year, the area invested in tobacco in Italy amounted to 38,000 hectares, mainly located in five regions: Veneto, Tuscany, Lazio, Umbria and Campania.

Nematodes are among the main critical issues in tobacco crops

Given its concentration mainly in highly specialized areas, the cultivation of tobacco is often in monosuccession. The lack of rotation, just like with any other crop, causes several problems, including the increase in the spread of diseases and parasites closely linked to the specific crop and, consequently, the damage caused by them. Mild temperatures and prevailing sand grain sizes are also predisposing conditions for the spread of nematodes, especially if in conjunction with a scarce presence of organic matter, a factor that amplifies the problem in tobacco farming, where sandy soils tend to be preferred because they are more suitable for this species. Nematodes are among the most dreaded soil parasites in tobacco farming, more specifically Meloydogine incognita (gall) and Heterodera tabacum (cyst). As we have already had the opportunity to explain in a previous study, the Nematodes that live at the expense of the root systems of numerous cultivated crops can be gall, in which case the roots of the attached plants show galls and thickenings, or cyst, named after the cyst shape of the adult female. In addition to causing stunted plant development, due to the trophic activity affecting the roots, nematodes are dangerous to tobacco, as well as to all other attacked crops, due to the risk of virus transmission of varying severity.

Containing nematode damage: the synergy between protection and nutrition

Beyond the adoption of crop changes, which as previously mentioned are not always possible and/or financially sustainable, there are other good agricultural practices which contribute to the containment of nematode infestations in tobacco crops. These include, for example, the cultivation and green manure of biocidal plants (Brassicaceae), or alternatively the distribution of Brassicaceae or Neem cakes, with a repellent action against nematodes. Additional the distribution of organic matter inoculated with useful microorganisms can provide valuable help, such as antagonist fungi — belonging to the genera Paecilomyces, Pochonia and Arthrobotrys — or from bacteria with adulticidal activity, such as Bacillus firmus and Streptomyces avermitilis. What is important to emphasize is that since the banning of methyl bromide as a fumigant for soils, the range of active and formulated substances available to growers for the control of nematodes in soil has been significantly reduced, a fact that has brought back to the attention of technicians and operators the importance of adopting good agricultural practices and in particular the potential of proper fertilization management in creating unfavorable conditions for the  spread of Nematodes in our cultivated soils, allowing a more moderate use of chemical treatments. The reduction in the use of the few active substances available not only lowers the risk of the onset of resistance phenomena, but also reduces the environmental impact of the production process and the presence of residues in the soils, to the advantage of the biological vitality of the latter.

Agribios Tips

There are three Agribios Italiana products capable of reducing the load of nematodes present in soils.

Nemakil 330 is an organic fertilizer with a matrix consisting mainly of vegetable cakes that, in addition to representing the ideal substrate for the development of soil microbial flora, create a hostile environment for Nematodes. Nemakil 330 also has added calcium.

Nemakil 400 is an organic nitrogen fertilizer with a matrix, exclusively plant-based, consisting mainly of Neem cakes. The added meso and microelements, such as Iron and Calcium, also make Nemakil 400 an organic fertilizer with a targeted action.

Nemaplus is an organic fertilizer in pellets with inoculation of mycorrhizal fungi. In addition to providing humidified organic matter, it contains a specific microbial consortium, which acts as an inhibitor against Nematodes, and which biostimulates tobacco through the production of specific secondary metabolites.

Prodotti correlati

Nemakil 330

Organic fertilizers

Nemakil 400

Organic fertilizers


Fertilizers with microorganisms

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