Soybean cyst nematodes are one of the most costly and damaging pests for soybean growers. It feeds on the roots of soybeans and can significantly reduce yields. According to Iowa State University Plant Pathologist Greg Tylka, fall soil testing is very important.
"Fields can have soybean cyst nematode and be suffering yield loss with no obvious symptoms," Tylka says. "So you simply can't drive around looking for fields that have cyst nematode by looking for stunted plants or yellowed plants; you have to test the fields."
Tylka recommends taking samples from a lot of different areas in the field for testing and to regularly test fields.
"It's much, much easier to keep low numbers low than it is to drive high numbers down," he says. "And the key to keep low numbers low is to catch it early."
There are several varieties of SCN resistant soybeans that can help in the fight cyst nematode, but over time the resistance level can start to slip a little bit in terms of its effectiveness. Another way to fight cyst nematode is to rotate to other crops. Planting corn, wheat or alfalfa will help reduce nematode infection.
"As my colleague Terry Niblack at the University of Illinois would say," says Tylka, "The three best ways to fight SCN is rotation, rotation and rotation."
For more information on soybean varieties with effective SCN resistance Tylka says producers can turn to seed companies and land grant universities.