What Lies Beneath

SCN

Four Symptoms to Look for to Manage Soybean Cyst Nematode

Widely distributed throughout the soybean-growing regions of the United States, soybean cyst nematode (SCN) currently affects soybean farmers in more than 30 states.

According to Michigan State University Professor of Nematology George Bird, Ph.D., SCN is the No. 1 soybean disease. United Soybean Board research shows SCN results in yield losses of more than 100 million bushels per year in the U.S. In a new Focus on Soybean webcast, Bird discusses best-management practices to identify and treat SCN.

Signs, Symptoms and Conducting an SCN Analysis

SCN cysts can remain in the soil for several years and each cyst may contain more than 100 eggs. Upon hatching, juvenile nematodes will migrate to and penetrate the plant’s root system, setting up feeding sites and robbing the soybean of nutrients, which can result in yield loss.

It is very difficult to diagnose an SCN problem just by looking at the plant above ground. Instead, identification requires a laboratory analysis of the soil and root tissue. However, farmers can look for these common characteristics if they fear SCN infestations:

  • Weak root system and poor nodulation
  • White SCN cysts on the root system
  • Uneven soybean growth patterns and stunted plants
  • Low number of bean pods or low number of beans per pod

If you have a field that’s not meeting its yield goal, it is worthwhile to test your soil for SCN. Contact your state extension agent for more information.

SCN Management: Exclusion, Containment, Control

If SCN is already present in the field, implement these three practices for managing the infestation:

  • Use of resistant varieties
  • Crop rotation
  • Seed treatments – chemical, biological and plant-health regulators

If you do not already have SCN on your farm, use strict management practices to prevent infestation of your soil.

“SCN can be transported into your field by irrigation water, wind, and rain as well as on your equipment,” says Bird. “Washing your equipment before moving into your high-yielding fields can help reduce the risk of transporting SCN.”

The soy checkoff sponsors the “Focus on Soybean” webcasts through a partnership with the Plant Management Network, allowing all U.S. soybean farmers access to an executive summary of this presentation for free.