This special series highlights Beck's Practical Farm Research program conducted over multiple locations and multiple states to add profitability for growers.
Think you don't have soybean cyst nematodes (SCN) in your fields? Consider this: "Any field that's grown soybeans within the past three to four years will likely have them," says Travis Burnett, a Beck's Hybrids Practical Farm Research (PFR) agronomist. "SCN is the number one yield robber in soybeans."
For most farmers, the question is not whether your fields have SCN, but how much pressure you have as that dictates your management decisions. Small to modest infestations can be controlled by a seed treatment with a good nematicide. Burnett notes that Beck's seed treatment includes a nematicide that comes standard on every unit of soybean seed they sell.
That seed treatment, Escalate®, powered by NEMASECT™ , includes the broad-spectrum nematicide, NEMASECT, which controls nematodes within 24 to 48 hours, and impacts nematode populations up to 60 days. It also controls soil-dwelling insects including seed corn maggots, white grubs and wire worms. For fields with a history of SCN pressure, Burnett recommends utilizing Escalate SDS with ILeVO® which also includes NEMASECT. This combination seed treatment controls both SCN and sudden death syndrome (SDS).
Burnett notes that SCN and SDS are related problems. "Soybean cyst nematodes feeding on roots open a pathway into the plant for the fungus causing SDS. So, treating soybean seed with both a nematicide and a fungicide delivers a one-two punch to SCN and SDS."
How do you tell what level of seed treatment to use?
"You can't go by visual signs," says Burnett. "SCN are microscopic and impossible to see with the naked eye. Yet, they can be cutting yield in fields that look normal."
He points out when NEMASECT was applied to seed planted in 124 locations across the Midwest, the two-year study showed it produced an additional 3.5 Bu./A yield over a standard seed treatment and a 86% win rate. "That's why we're adding NEMASECT to our standard seed treatment," explains Burnett.
The only way to measure SCN pressure is to test your soils. Burnett recommends pulling soil samples in the fall after the crop has been taken off. "If you have lots of crop acres, I recommend pulling the first soil samples from areas where you've seen yellowing, stunting and premature plant death in the previous soybean crop. I'd also prioritize sampling fields that have been in a soybean-after-soybean rotation. Look at the results from these samples first," advises Burnett, "and depending on their level of SCN severity decide on how much more testing you need to do."
He recommends pulling cores from the previous crop rows as much as possible, as nematodes will be in the root zone of the previous crop. Burnett suggests taking 20 cores of soil from each 10- to 15-acre area, then mixing the collected soil. Pour the mixed soil in a plastic bag and mark on the bag where the sample was taken.
"I use quart bags and fill them full," says Burnett, adding that it's important to use plastic bags to maintain a quality sample. Send the samples to one of the many labs across the Midwest that do SCN testing.
Escalate SDS is a Beck's PFR proven product, meaning that in Practical Farm Research (PFR) ® trials, it's provided a positive yield increase every year during three or more years of testing, and averaged a positive return on investment during that time.
In PFR studies, Escalate SDS averaged an $11.59/Bu. return on investment over a four-year period over multiple locations. "That's a significant return on a pretty small investment," notes Burnett.
For more details about this study visit here.