SCN Update: 6th Annual 'Tode Awards Announced
Ten years ago, the Nebraska Soybean Board started an extremely successful program to provide free soil analysis for soybean cyst nematodes (SCN) for Nebraska soybean farmers. Soil samples were processed in the UNL Plant Pathology department. It started slowly, but over the years the number of samples has grown to over 6,600 samples. In 2014, almost 1,200 samples from Nebraska growers were processed.
Just as we approach another prestigous awards night, we wanted to recognize progress made by producers testing for and identifying SCN infestations, the first step in managing this pest. SCN is the most devastating pest to soybean growers. Last year SCN cost Nebraska farmers about $30 million and US farmers over $1 billion in lost yields.
In the 19 years prior to this sampling program, SCN had been identified in only 27 counties; since the SCN sampling program was initiated, SCN was identified in 30 more counties, more than doubling the SCN confirmations across the state. Almost one-third of all samples submitted have come back positive for SCN.
Often the farmer submitting the sample had no idea he or she had SCN-infested fields. This illustrates why it's so important to test fields for SCN. Once farmers learn SCN is in their field, they can start managing it.
Farmers can have yield losses of 20-30% with no visible plant symptoms. Often the first indication of an SCN infestation is when soybean yields plateau or even start to drop off while corn yields continue to increase in that field.
Testing for SCN
The best way to determine if SCN is in a field is to take a soil test. We are pleased to have the Nebraska Soybean Board as our partner in this ongoing initiative.They recognized what a serious problem SCN was to soybean growers and have funded a project with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to encourage farmers to sample their fields for SCN. Their support covers the cost of analyzing soil samples for SCN, normally a $20/sample expense.
Without the Nebraska Soybean Board's support, we would not have been able to reach this many Nebraska farmers. In 2014, 1,177 samples were submitted and 432 (36.7%) were positive for SCN. From these results, our panel of judges have identified the following as the 6th Annual 'Tode Awards winners:
In the category of Most (#) Samples Submitted:
Winner: Buffalo County (157)
Honorable Mention: Boone (70), Kearney (64), Platte (59)
In the category of Most (#) Samples Positive for SCN:
Winner: Buffalo County (40)
Honorable Mention: Platte (35), Antelope (24), Kearney (20)
In the category of Most (%) Samples Positive for SCN (must have submitted at least five samples):
Winner: Rock County (86%)
Honorable Mention: Burt County (83%), Antelope (80%), Dodge (76%)
In the category of Sample with Highest Egg Count (# eggs/100 ccs of soil):
Winner: Madison County (108,160)
Honorable Mention: Merrick (75,840), Antelope (66,080), Saunders (39,360)
And finally, in the category of County with First SCN Detection:
Some might argue that the county in the last category is a loser, not a winner. However, now farmers in Sherman County know SCN has been found in area fields so they can sample for it and start managing it if found in their fields. So they really are winners.
Although it often goes undetected, SCN is here and it is reducing the profitability for Nebraska soybean producers. To learn more about SCN or to pick up bags to submit soil samples from your fields, contact your local Nebraska Extension office.
John Wilson Extension Educator
Loren Giesler, Extension Plant Pathologist