Now would be a great time to take soil samples for soybean cyst nematodes (SCN).

These yield-limiting microscopic nematodes often go undetected in fields until harvest yields come up short without any explanation.

This year was rough, with severe flooding that might contribute to less-than-ideal yield potential. Such flooding also may have moved soil particles from infected fields to previously uninfected ones.

SCN has been confirmed in 59 Nebraska counties, including Dawson, Buffalo and Hall.

They survive on roots of soybean plants and several weed species. In severe infestations, above ground symptoms like stunting or yellowing plants are visible.

However, plants usually look relatively healthy above the soil line.

If there are places in fields that had lower than expected 2019 yields and there is no explanations, it might be a good idea to collect soil samples for testing.

Testing also may be important for fields with patches of sudden death syndrome or brown stem rot. Those diseases aren’t caused by nematodes, but feeding nematodes allow an easier route for diseases to enter the plant.

To collect a sample, take 15-25 soil cores at 6-8 inches deep, preferably through the root zone. Mix the cores in a bucket.

Extension offices have soil sample bags for SCN. The Nebraska Soybean checkoff supports sample bags and SCN testing.

Send soil samples into the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Plant & Pest Diagnostic Clinic to determine if fields are infested with soybean cyst nematodes.

Soil sampling and testing is recommended approximately every six years to see if levels are increasing or decreasing. There has been a concern about nematodes overcoming SCN-resistant soybean varieties over the last few years.

Farmers mostly plant the resistance package PI88788. If SCN counts are increasing, it might be time to rotate to a Peking or Hartwig resistance package.

Talk to your seed dealer about options to manage SCN effectively next year.

Farm bill meetings

Nebraska Extension is partnering with U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency offices to host free farm bill education meetings across the state this fall and winter. The focus is on changes to Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs.

A list of the 28 meetings currently scheduled is posted at

Central Nebraska meetings include: Dawson County Extension office, Lexington, Dec. 2; College Park’s Fonner Park Room, Grand Island, Dec. 5; Custer County Fairgrounds, Broken Bow, Dec. 16; and Buffalo County Fairgrounds, Kearney, Dec. 17. All are 1-4 p.m.

The Dec. 18 meeting at the West Central Research and Extension Center near North Platte is 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Advanced registration to local FSA or Extension offices, or at the website listed above is encouraged to ensure there will be enough educational materials for all participants.

Sarah Sivits is a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension educator whose focus area is Dawson, Buffalo and Hall counties.

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