You’re Already Out. Why Not Sample for Soybean Cyst Nematode?

The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board (WSMB) sponsors free nematode testing for growers. It’s a great program to take advantage of because, as Dr. Shawn Conley says, “the first step in fixing a nematode problem is to know if you have one.”

In a recent edition of the Soy Report, Dr. Conley, who is our state soybean specialist, observes that eggs of the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) can persist in the soil between soybean crops, so you can sample when it’s convenient.

The soil test you get will tell you the number of eggs in the sample. That’s critical to know because it will help you choose the right SCN-resistant variety of seed.

It’s also important to retest regularly since some nematode populations are developing resistance.

What’s more, since the spring of 2012, the WSMB expanded the program to include other pest nematodes beyond SCN. So you get a good look at the situation on your land—all at no charge to you.

As Dr. Conley points out, there are no rescue treatments for nematodes. The advantage comes in planning for next year’s crop.

As Dr. Conley puts it, “soil samples collected in corn for nematode analysis have predictive value for explaining yield if they are collected before the corn V6 growth stage. Sampling early in the season will provide information about the risk potential for the current corn crop AND the next soybean crop.” That’s handy to know.

Considerations in Collecting Samples

The soil tests that reveal nematode pests other than SCN require live nematodes. So keep your samples moist and at least at room temperature. Collecting a sample with multiple cores gives the testers plenty of root pieces to assay but you don’t have to include living plants.

The report you receive will show you which pest nematodes are present, in what amounts, and their potential to damage corn and soybean crops based on the numbers found.

To learn more on SCN testing and how to manage it, or to request your free soil sample test kit, please contact Jillene Fisch at or by calling 608-262-1390.