Approximately $ 80,000 in grants over two years were received through an annual competition to fund research.

Not all nematodes are bad.

But these specific plant-parasitic nematodes attack hop roots, causing growth retardation and wilting. And because hops are a 10-15-year-old perennial, farmers can’t just dig up their plants to check for nematodes, which can create uncertainty if they see a problem with their hops.

Darling describes hops susceptible to attack by other bacteria and fungi as “sponge pathogens”.

“Some nematologists have called Michigan the capital of cystic nematodes in the United States,” Darling said.

Found in the Yakima Valley, Washington – the nation’s leading hop producer – these nematodes have had a big impact on hop growing in the Traverse City area, Darling said, adding that some growers have been taken out of business in part because of these parasites. .

Now that they have been identified, Darling’s research is now focused on how to deal with them.

Darling and Quintanilla warn against exchanging unclean agricultural equipment between plots of land because these parasites are highly contagious.

“Nematodes can’t fly and walk, so the only way to get from an infected place to a new place is through human mechanisms,” Quintanilla said.

In February, the Craft Beverage Council recommended $ 335,000 for 13 projects promoting research in craft beer, spirits, wine and strong cider.

According to the Brewers Association, Michigan ranks sixth in the country with 398 craft breweries in the state. It also ranks ninth in wine production, according to the Bureau of Taxes and Trade in Alcohol and Tobacco.

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