Soybean School: Soybean cyst nematode lessons from North Dakota

Sam Markell, extension plant pathologist at NDSU, at the 2022 Big Iron Farm Show.

As soybean cyst nematode (SCN) wriggles its way north, Western Canadian farmers can look to southern neighbours for advice on managing this pest.

Sam Markell, extension plant pathologist with North Dakota State University (NDSU), says that late in the growing season is an excellent time to test for the pest. A core sample taken six to seven inches down, at the roots of the plant, will capture SCN eggs if they are there, he explains in this Soybean School episode, recorded at the 2022 Big Iron Farm Show in Fargo, ND.

Because the nematodes move with soil, Markell recommends focusing first on field entry points, but also targeting any area that seemed to die off prematurely.

Knowing if a field has SCN is key, as crop rotation and variety selection for that field will make all the difference in combating this pest. (Story continues below video)

Markell explains that the egg counts drop quickly in the first two years without soybean or dry beans grown (the only hosts). That said, eggs do persist for some time, so when soybeans are grown there again, it would be prudent to go with a resistant variety.

Markell notes that there are new seed treatments in the pipeline too, but in the immediate future testing, crop rotation, and variety selection are the key control mechanisms.

Watch more Soybean School episodes here