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Angie Peltier

Angie Peltier
Former Extension Educator, Commercial Agriculture

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Hill and Furrow

Current topics about crop production in Western Illinois, including field crops research at the NWIARDC in Monmouth.
Figure. Swollen soybean female cyst nematodes on soybean roots (photo credits: Elizabeth Bush, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University,

SCN: Sample soil now to determine risk in 2014

When considering which soybean varieties to plant in 2014, don't forget about the little animal that can (sight unseen) threaten yield, the soybean cyst nematode (Figure)!

Yield loss potential. SCN is the pathogen responsible for the most disease-associated yield loss in soybean. Between 2006 and 2009, SCN caused between 25 and 38 percent of all disease-related yield losses, and yield loss estimates ranged between 94 and 172 million bushels per year (Table).

Table. SCN-associated soybean yield losses in 2006 through 2009*


Estimates yield losses (in bushels)**

Percent of total estimated pathogen-caused yield loss













* From: Koenning and Wrather, 2010.
**Estimated yield losses due to SCN in 28 US States.

Resources that can help when making variety selections.           

Soil sampling and testing resources. Fall rains have delayed harvest, fall tillage, and fertilizer applications.  Just like other fall activities, periodically sampling field soil for SCN population information is part of many producers' fall management operations.  The University of Illinois Plant Clinic has detailed instructions for collecting soil samples that will provide a representative snapshot of your field's soybean cyst nematode population. For a fee, soil samples can be submitted to the University of Illinois Plant Clinic for testing where nematodes will be extracted from the soil, identified and counted.

Type testing. "The Invisible Threat", a brochure produced by the University of Illinois Extension and Illinois Soybean Association is available online. This brochure summarizes the importance of testing fields for SCN population densities and then determining the predominant SCN type. Results of a type test can help to determine which source of SCN resistance would be the best choice for your particular field or farm.

Variety selection. Soybean varieties differ in their susceptibility to the soybean cyst nematode. The University of Illinois VIPS website summarizes results of Illinois soybean trials (including the SCN-resistance ratings) and can let you compare a particular variety's yield among trial locations or all varieties at a particular location through their Customized variety search feature. This feature also lists how resistant many of the varieties are to different SCN types, which, is one way to combat this ubiquitous pathogen.

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