Four Ways to Manage Soybean Nematodes

Soybean cyst nematode. Just the name of this yield robber makes many soybean farmers cringe. And it should, since soybean nematodes causes the greatest yield loss of any pest or disease in soybean throughout the United States. But if you live in the south, there is another nematode to get to know.

Southern root-knot nematode is causing problems in the southern United States, according to a researcher at Clemson University in South Carolina. Root-knot nematodes can cause severe reduction in soybean yield, worsen injury caused by other fungal diseases, and even cause plant death.

“There are several nematode species that cause economic damage, such as soybean cyst, southern root-knot, peanut root-knot, Columbia lance, reniform, sting and lesion,” says John Mueller, Ph.D. “Of these, the most well-known is soybean cyst, but in the southern part of the country, southern root-knot probably causes the most damage across the greatest acreage.”

Here are four practices Mueller suggests to help minimize nematodes’ effect on your soybean yield:

  1. Soil sampling — Farmers should take soil samples after harvest. By doing so, you can determine which type of nematode you have.
  2. Crop rotation — Once you know which nematodes are present, you can determine the crops affected by the nematode species in your field and plan a crop-rotation schedule accordingly.
  3. Use resistant varieties — If you know which nematode species, and in the case of SCN which HG types or races, live in your fields, you can select soybean varieties resistant to those nematodes.
  4. Use of a nematicide —Use this method when there are multiple species of nematodes present in a field or when you have a species of nematode for which no resistant variety exists. Nematicides are available in granular or fumigant forms, chemical or biological seed treatments and harpins, which induce resistance in plants.

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