September 13, 2016
Soybean Cyst Nematodes: 
Defending Against Yield Losses

The SCN Problem
Soybean cyst nematodes (SCNs) cause "a lot more damage than people think," said Ron Paulson, Federated agronomist at the Isanti location. Growers have lost billions of dollars in yields across the U.S. "It's been the #1 cause of yield loss in recent years," said Paulson.
soybeans in August
The goal: High-yielding, healthy, pest-free soybeans.
Research indicates yields can be cut by up to 30% if the beans being planted are not resistant to SCNs. The pests were first seen in Minnesota in the late 1970s, and have gradually moved further north, and are now evident throughout Federated's service areas. "A lot of people don't even realize they have SCNs," said Paulson. 
As with many crop issues, the answer lies in testing. Soil tests can determine whether or not the cysts are in the roots of the plants. The presence of SCNs is often indicated by stunted growth, yellowish color, and smaller plants. SCNs move through the roots and affect the plant's ability to take up nutrients. (And over time, unhealthy plants are susceptible to other diseases.)

Identifying SCN
Identifying and understanding SCN. 
Video courtesy of U of MN.
If you think you have an SCN problem, take 10-15 core samples at 6-8 inches deep in an apparent problem area; be sure to get root mass in the sample. Mix the samples together and bring a pint-sized composite to Federated. "We will send it in and see what the cyst count is," Paulson said.

If SCNs are in the soil, they can stay there -- affecting crops and yields -- for up to nine years! Talk to your Federated Agronomist about defensive varieties you can plant next year (see below).
The Best Defense Against SCN

Studying the opposition's line of attack precedes any good football play. Likewise, analyzing the level of resistance to soybean cyst nematode (SCNs) is the first step in planning a strong defense against the pests.
"We need to first determine how bad the problem is," said Heidi Hughes, Federated agronomist at the Isanti location. "After that, we can move forward onto the best variety for our fields," she added.
Legend soybeans
Legend beans are among the SCN-resistant varieties Federated carries.
First off, according to Hughes, is to choose a seed company. Federated offers soybean varieties from Asgrow, Croplan, Legend, NK, Renk, and new in 2017, Mycogen. About 80% of the seed from these companies contains one or more of the SCN resistant genes.
Selecting the particular variety that would fit a particular field better can be a bit of a challenge. Every variety is labeled with an easy-to-understand number ranked on a scale of 1 to 9 for SCN resistance: 9 = Best, 5 = Average, and 1 = Worst resistance. Several of the varieties then add a letter or combination of letters and numbers that may seem more complicated -- "but don't fret," said Hughes, "we can make sense of it for you.
The letters R, MR, and S indicate whether the variety is Susceptible, Moderately Resistant, or Resistant to SCN. An additional number following these letters represents the specific race of SCN that the variety is resistant to, Hughes explained. For example, MR14 is a variety that is moderately resistant to race 14.
"The best way to figure out what variety and maturity is best for your fields," said Hughes, "is to see your local Federated Agronomist." Discuss the level of resistance you've seen in your fields and then determine your best defense.

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Investing in Soil Samples Pays Off
"With the price of commodities, and especially the lower price of fertilizer, it's an especially good time to check the soil in the fields," said Kevin Carlson, Federated's senior agronomist.
"A current soil sample is a reasonable investment of $25-$40," said Carlson, "and with the lowest fertilizer prices we've seen in 10 years on phosphorous and potash, it's a good time to get the best value on fertilizer investments." Soil samples determine where the nutrients are most needed.
Carlson recommended soil sampling this fall if field fertility information is more than three or four years old. He would even soil sample every couple of years -- because better and more current information is "invaluable" when making fertilizer recommendations. "It's really the foundation," he said.
Contact your Federated Agronomist with any questions about soil sampling this fall.

Thank You 
to the 2016
Discovery Plot Cooperators
plot tour sign Another season of Discovery Plot Tours is history, and 2016's events were a huge success. Thank you to these Discovery Plot cooperators for the major role they play, contributing much time and energy to the plot tours.
Larry & Sharon Wilhelm

Craig, Margret 
& Andre Mold

Lennemann Farms

Nathan Nelson

Paul & Janet Bostrom

Todd & Robert Steffen

Doug & Lori Lezer

Craig, Janet & Neil Gustafson
Federated also thanks the growers and others who attended one of the eight Discovery Plot Tours last month. We trust that you benefitted from our efforts to provide value-added information with local influence.
We are grateful for the team effort and look forward to the next growing season!
Federated Co-ops | 763-389-2582 | |
502 S 2nd St
Princeton, MN 55371-1941