Soybean Cyst Nematode Management: Take the Test. Beat the Pest

nodule and cysts on roots

Here’s the situation:  Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is the worst pest of soybeans in Missouri as well as the USA – negatively impacting an almost $30 billion industry.

Fortunately, this pest can be managed, but farmers must take steps before planting to protect their 2010 soybean crop against these nematodes.

The first step is to test the soil for SCN, and this must be done in the next few days.   University of Missouri Extension Regional Agronomists have information about taking and submitting soil samples for SCN analysis, and more information is available at the University of Missouri web site  The results of soil analysis for SCN will be available by early April if soil samples are submitted by late March.

The second step is to rotate crops and plant SCN resistant varieties in fields infested with this pest.  These are the only useful SCN control methods available.

Crop rotation is a great SCN control method because SCN numbers decline during years when crops such as corn, grain sorghum, a forage crop, or cotton are planted.  The number of years these crops should be planted before planting soybean again will depend on the number of SCN in the soil.

Soybean cyst nematode resistant varieties are available and most yield well.  Very few varieties are resistant to all types of SCN so selecting the best variety to plant is difficult.

Information about soybean variety resistance to SCN is available at University of Missouri Extension Offices, and the University of Missouri Variety Testing web site,  Visitors to this site should select “Soybean”, then select “Varieties”, then select the soybean seed company of interest, and then “Submit”.  This site lists company provided information about varieties they sell and the source of SCN resistance used to develop each variety.  Farmers should also ask their soybean seed representatives to buy only the best SCN resistant varieties.

More information about SCN management is available in the University of Missouri Extension Guide titled, Soybean Cyst Nematode: Diagnosis and Management.  This guide is available at

The Missouri soybean farmer checkoff, managed by the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, funded much of the research by University of Missouri scientists to develop SCN resistant varieties and determine that crop rotation is a great SCN management tool.

Following these suggested procedures will give soybean farmers a better chance of producing a profitable soybean crop in 2010.