Soil Testing the First Step to Keeping SCN Out of Your Fields

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With your soybeans out of the field, now is a great time to test for SCN. In fact, knowing if this pest is in your fields has never been more important, especially when it comes to protecting your crop and boosting your bottom line. The root-attacking parasite costs U.S. soybean farmers more than $1 billion in yield losses each year.

“It’s kind of like high blood pressure in that you’re way better off knowing you’ve got it and starting to deal with it before it flares up and creates a problem for you,” says Greg Tylka, Ph.D., nematologist with Iowa State University.

Tylka says the parasite does its damage by attacking the soybean plant’s roots and damaging them. Plus, SCN reproduces very quickly, survives well in the soil, and can live in a field for ten years.

That’s why the soy checkoff supports research that explores SCN, management of the disease and its impact on soybean yields.

“It’s a serious problem, and farmers need to keep monitoring for it and we can keep working toward developing resistant varieties,” says Delbert Christensen, USB director and soybean farmer from Audubon, Iowa. “The key is knowing which types of SCN are in your soil and at what levels.”

Farmers can obtain test kits from their state extension agents, local cooperatives and state soybean boards. These kits are reasonably priced and take up to ten days to process. Tylka explains how to sample for SCN here.

“I can’t express enough how important it is for farmers to scout their fields, just get out and get knowledge on what is causing problems in your fields,” says Tylka.

Once you have your test results back, learn what to do next to manage SCN.