Soybean cyst nematode now confirmed in 54 counties
John Wilson doesn’t mince words when talking about the damage caused by soybean cyst nematode.
“It’s the most devastating pest to soybean growers in Nebraska and the United States,” he says. “Last year, SCN cost Nebraska farmers $30 million in lost yields.” Nationally, growers lost more than $1 billion, says the Extension educator based in Burt County.
These losses can be reduced if farmers are aware SCN is in their fields. But there’s one catch. Farmers can have yield losses of 20% to 30% with no visible symptoms on the plant. So, the best way to determine if SCN is present is to take a soil sample.
To increase statewide testing, the Nebraska Soybean Board has funded a project with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to encourage farmers to sample their fields. The board’s support covers the cost of analyzing soil samples for SCN, normally $20 per sample.
“We just completed the seventh year of this project with some staggering results,” Wilson says.
Since 2005, more than 3,800 samples have been submitted, and SCN has been identified since that year in 27 counties. This doubles the number of counties in which SCN has been confirmed over the previous 19 years. SCN has now been identified in 54 total counties that produce more than 90% of Nebraska’s soybeans.
Confirmation of SCN in a county doesn’t necessarily mean all fields in that county have soils infested with the pest, Wilson says. It may just be a local area or scattered fields. “However, SCN has the potential to move from field to field. Anything that moves soil — such as flooding, wind erosion, wildlife and farm equipment — can move SCN with it.”
Free sample bags are available to producers at their UNL county Extension office.
Source: UNL CropWatch
This article published in the April, 2012 edition of NEBRASKA FARMER.