Identifying and Managing Soybean Nematodes

Parasitic soybean nematodes have been lurking in soil for years, but most farmers don’t know their fields are contaminated. Nematode injury looks like general yellowing or stunting that can also be caused by dry conditions, poor fertility and other stressors.

Above-ground symptoms of nematode damage tend to occur only when parasite pressure is high, but can occur all season long because many nematode species complete a lifecycle in three to four weeks. With symptomology similar to other above-ground stresses, it’s important to look below ground for symptoms. Your Channel Seedsman can help you with a root dig to check for nematode damage.

Below-ground symptoms of nematode damage include lack of fine roots, swollen roots, necrotic lesions and minimal root branching. In the case of soybean cyst nematode (SCN), swollen cream- and yellow-colored female cysts can be seen on the roots with the naked eye. Rarely is nematode damage uniform across a field, so look for sporadic symptomology and target your Field Check Up Series inspections with your Channel Seedsman accordingly.


Here are some tips for managing fields for nematode injury: 

Sufficient fertility — plants without adequate nutrients are more susceptible to nematode injury

Control weeds — many weeds act as a host for nematodes, and active weed management can help reduce nematode populations

Rotate crops — rotating to a non-host crop can keep certain nematode populations in check

Plant tolerant products — many soybean products have built-in SCN tolerance

Consider seed treatments — nematicides, such as products with
NemaStrike Technology by Acceleron® Seed Applied Solutions, have shown
broad spectrum control across a range of nematode pressure

Karl Butenhoff

Channel Technical Agronomist

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