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Alert: Some cover crops host SCN

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Iowa

Any new cultural practice has a learning curve. 

There are some cover crops that may host unwanted pests through the winter. An alert from The SCN Coalition: “Some cover crops are hosts to Soybean Cyst Nematodes” 

There are plenty of agronomic incentives to plant cover crops this fall, but for fields infested with Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) there’s one watch-out: Don’t feed the nematodes.

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Researchers from The SCN Coalition have compiled this list of cover crops that are suitable to grow in SCN-infested fields without fear of providing a host for the nematode. The list is based on the results of checkoff-funded research published by Iowa State University and North Dakota State University.

Legumes (nitrogen-fixing) that are poor hosts or nonhosts for SCN:

  • Alfalfa
  • Austrian winter pea
  • Berseem clover
  • Cowpea
  • Crimson clover
  • Hairy vetch
  • Peas
  • Red clover
  • White clover

Researchers at North Dakota State found slightly higher SCN reproduction on Austrian winter pea, hairy vetch and field peas than what Iowa State scientists found, but reproduction was low in both studies.

Grasses and cereal grains that are poor hosts or nonhosts for SCN:

  • Annual ryegrass
  • Barley*
  • Cereal rye
  • Oats*
  • Wheat*

*From the SCN Management Guide 5th edition