Recent studies conducted by Auburn University researchers confirm that significant protection from a wide range of nematode plant pests can be achieved and is highly valuable to soybean growers. One of the most destructive and costly is soybean cyst nematode (SCN) and control can be the most valuable. SCN is the number one pest affecting yields for soybean growers. In 2009, SCN accounted for a nationwide loss of more than $1 billion.

"Soybeans are susceptible to a variety of nematode pests, including root-knot, soybean cyst nematode and reniform, so you need to protect the seed in the very beginning," said Kathy Lawrence, Ph.D., Auburn University plant pathologist. "You're going to have one of those nematodes present in your field, so a seed treatment that would cover any of them would be great insurance to make sure you don't have a problem in the beginning of the season."

Included in the research at Auburn was Poncho/Votivo seed treatment that includes a biological mode of action with a bacteria strain that colonizes young roots, creating a living barrier that keeps yield-impacting soybean nematode species, including reniform, root-knot and soybean cyst, from reaching the root. This seed treatment also provides control of many early-season insect pests.

"We found that Votivo colonizes corn, cotton and soybeans for up to 12 weeks after application to the seed," said Joe Kloepper, Ph.D., Auburn University biologist. "This means that it will provide long-lasting plant protection when compared to traditional chemicals applied to the seed."

Further research indicates that the biological component of Poncho/Votivo can have an effect on SCN mobility. In laboratory tests conducted at Auburn University, nematode mobility was decreased and the juvenile SCN became partially paralyzed over the span of 48 hours. The loss of mobility could prevent the nematode from moving toward and penetrating soybean roots, resulting in reduced populations around the root as well as a reduction in the second generation of nematodes, 30 to 60 days post planting of soybean.