The fight against an age-old soybean pest has proved challenging over the years. What you can do to minimize its impact, below.
AUDIO: Greg Tylka, SCN Coalition
Soybean cyst nematode has presented many challenges over the years. Greg Tylka, SCN Coalition co-leader, discusses the most recent challenges in regards to management.
“We discovered that nematodes in Iowa farm fields were becoming resistant to the resistance. That’s because all of the seed companies were using the same set of resistant genes,” Tylka said. “So we now live in a world where resistant soybean varieties don’t work as well as they use to.”
“Soybean cyst nematode is like high blood pressure,” Tylka said. It must be monitored closely.
“Soybean cyst nematode is like high blood pressure in humans,” Tylka said. “Many farmers have soybean cyst nematode; many people have high blood pressure. Physicians just don’t check your blood pressure once and then never again. They encourage you to monitor your blood pressure to see if the things you’re doing to make the situation better are working. And that’s what the SCN Coalition wants farmers to do.”
The SCN Coalition encourages farmers to obtain soil samples before every third or fourth soybean crop. The samples will let farmers know if nematode numbers are rising or falling.
Tylka adds, “SCN is not a death sentence.” However, the damages can be significant.
“In any individual farm field, yield loss could be as little as four to five bushels per acre. I’ve also seen 30 bushel per acre yield loss. What I mean by that is a field that should produce 60 bushels per acre comes in at 30 bushels per acre,” Tylka said.
The SCN Coalition recommends farmers use a variety of management tactics to overcome the pest.
“We have a new tool in the management toolbox, and that’s seed treatments. Starting in the mid-2000s, seed treatments could be purchased to provide added protection. The SCN Coalition is now promoting using as manage management tactics as possible – Scouting fields, rotating non-host corn with resistant soybean varieties and using seed treatments,” Tylka said.
Additional resources regarding soybean cyst nematode can be found at thescncoalition.com.