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Here’s how to pull soil samples for soybean cyst nematodes

SCN Sampling Guide
A SCN soil sample chart describes the basics. UTIA soil pathologist Heather Kelly, explains the process during the recent Milan No-Till field Day.
Follow this guide to pull SCN soil samples

Heather Kelly, UTIA soil pathologist, last fall initiated a trial run of screening soil samples, identifying soybean cyst nematode and charcoal rot, another pathogen capable of extensive damage. She’s running a large soil survey campaign in 2018, which is available free to Tennessee farmers due to the Tennessee Soybean Promotion Board support to screen for all pathogenic nematodes and charcoal rot.

She recommends fall sampling, after harvest but before first freeze. “Angle the soil probe 45 degrees to the target root zone,” she says.

Soil sample recommendations include:

  • Soil should be moist.
  • Collect 15 to 20 1-inch diameter core samples from 6 to 8 inches deep for every 20 acres.
  • Place 1 quart in a ziplock/plastic, sealable bag and keep cool.
  • Send to testing lab for analysis. Send to: WTREC SCN Lab, Attn: Heather Kelly, 605 Airways Blvd., Jackson, Tenn. 38301

See also: ‘Silent killers’ robbing soybean yields

Three approaches to sample a field

  1. Zigzag pattern
  2. Management zones
  3. High risk areas (But also in good production areas for comparison)

For more information on sampling and SCN visit: and


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