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Sample for SCN in the Fall

Sample for SCN in the Fall

Fall soil sampling for SCN in fields in which soybeans will be produced the next spring will reveal if SCN-resistant soybean varieties should be grown. If SCN has not been discovered in a field before, areas where the nematode can be first found in soil samples include near field entryways, in low spots and in high pH areas (see Figure1).

Prolonged use of SCN-resistant soybean varieties with the common PI 88788 source of resistance can lead to unintentional build-up of SCN population densities in the soil, increasing the amount of damage caused by the nematode in future years. It is a good idea to determine the SCN population density in fields where SCN-resistant soybean varieties with the common, PI 88788 source of resistance have been grown for numerous years. In this case, soil sampling for SCN every six to eight years is adequate, depending on how frequently soybeans are grown (sample after every three or four soybean crops).


Collect a good sample

  • Collect 8-in.-long soil cores.
  • Collect 15-20 soil cores/sampling area.
  • Limit the area sampled to 20 acres or so, if possible.
  • Collect numerous multiple-core samples from different areas in large fields.
  • If grid sampling, collect one or two soil cores from every grid cell and combine cores from the number of cells that represent approximately 20 acres.
  • Collect cores from underneath crop row if soybeans were grown this season.
  • Do not collect samples if the soil is muddy or frozen.
  • Send samples to a private soil-testing laboratory that does SCN testing or to: Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic, Iowa State University,
327 Bessey Hall, Ames, IA 50011


More information on SCN

For more information about the biology and management of SCN, visit and Also, copies of the new, 2nd edition of the Soybean Cyst Nematode Field guide are now available for no charge by calling the Iowa Soybean Association at 800-383-1423 or by contacting an ISU Extension field agronomist.

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