Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is the single most damaging soybean pest in the United States, according to DuPont Pioneer. Without showing obvious symptoms, many fields are infested without the knowledge of the grower, decreasing yields substantially. Studies have shown that yields in SCN infested fields can be reduced by more than 30 percent without visible above-ground symptoms.

SCN numbers are highest near harvest. Through soil sampling and professional evaluation in the fall, growers with help from their ag retailer agronomist or crop consultant can identify field infestation problems and plan accordingly for spring.

SCN is the single most damaging pest of soybeans in the United States, according to Steve Butzen, DuPont Pioneer agronomy information specialist. He provided some summary points directed at farmers, but which are pertinent for ag professionals assisting farmer clients.

  • SCN may decrease yields substantially without inducing obvious symptoms. Consequently, many fields are infested without the knowledge of the grower, but an ag professional can be more trained in identifying symptoms in a field.
  • Sampling fields with no symptoms is the only way to detect SCN before it becomes an economic problem, and ag professionals need to recommend this sampling to verify if a field is safe or infected.
  • Sampling strategies for SCN vary, depending on the history of SCN in the field. All samples should be evaluated by a qualified professional or laboratory, and every ag professional should know the procedures for sampling technique for SCN.  
  • SCN requires a combination of management strategies for effective control. In addition to prevention, rotation and resistant seed varieties, any practice which promotes good soybean health and growth will also help against SCN. The best techniques for soybean health come from ag professionals.