Why soybean farmers need to manage soybean cyst nematode

It’s the most damaging soybean pathogen in North America

The number one yield-grabbing pest for soybeans is one farmers cannot visually see. Left unmanaged, soybean cyst nematode  (SCN) can significantly impact their bottom lines.

That’s why the Soybean Cyst Nematode Coalition--a public/checkoff/private partnership formed to increase the number of farmers who are actively managing SCN--recommends that soybean growers work with an expert to develop a plan to actively manage SCN. 

Greg Tylka, an Iowa State University nematologist,  says SCN is considered to be the most damaging pathogen, in part, because the most common source of resistance known as PI 88788 isn’t as effective as it once was. 

“SCN thrives in the soil and takes food away from the soybean plant,” he says. “It’s also widely distributed and continues to spread where soybeans are grown.” 

In a new video series titled “Let’s Talk Todes,” Tylka explains why soybean growers need to consider the economic impacts of SCN. 

“Don’t be complacent,” he says. “The nematode doesn’t actively spread itself; it’s spread by anything that moves soil. It’s spreading within states where it’s well established like Iowa and Illinois, and more recently moved into areas of the Upper Midwest like North Dakota.” 

Sam Markell, a North Dakota State University plant pathologist, encourages growers to test for SCN so its spread can be tracked. 

“If we find it, we need to manage it, and we can learn from the situation in states like Iowa,” he says. “Growers will benefit by incorporating varieties with the Peking source of SCN resistance into their rotation. This can translate into yield benefits in areas where PI 88788 is not as effective, and rotation between these two sources of resistance can help keep the nematode from overcoming PI 88788 in new areas. Early detection, frequent monitoring and strategic management are keys to managing the number one yield-grabbing pest of the soybean crop in North America.” 

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