South Carolina farms can no longer ship sweet potatoes or seeds to two other states after a non-native pest was discovered in a Darlington County field.
Clemson University’s Department of Plant Industry (DPI) said it first encountered the Guava root-knot nematode while searching for another invasive pest in 2017, but new research suggests the pest is more destructive than first believed.
“The nematode becomes a problem in large numbers, because there aren’t any natural predators,” assistant director for plant protection Steven Long said. “So you’ll see populations explode and the sheer numbers are what cause the problem.”
That has led Louisiana and Mississippi to begin quarantines on fresh market sweet potatoes, seeds and slips. While Mississippi only blocked shipments from Darlington County, Louisiana applied the ban statewide. The two states also bar potatoes from Florida and North Carolina. [Read more…]