Research Highlights

Research Highlights
New Tool from The SCN Coalition Reveals the Pest’s Financial Toll

From the SCN Coalition

Have you ever taken a closer look at your spending and been shocked by how much you pay for subscription services? The soybean cyst nematode (SCN) can be a similar drain on your finances, flying under the radar and chipping away yield potential as years pass. The SCN Coalition’s new SCN Profit Checker tool works like a budget audit, laying bare just how much yield and money SCN is costing you. 

New Tool is Backed by Extensive Research

Data from more than 25,000 Iowa State University field trial plots with SCN-resistant soybean varieties revealed a significant direct relationship among SCN egg numbers, reproduction of SCN populations on PI 88788 resistance and yield loss.1

That relationship was used to create an algorithm for estimating SCN’s economic impact by field. The algorithm is the engine behind SCN Profit Checker, a simple calculator that estimates how much SCN costs a farmer in any soybean field.

Simple Inputs for the Tool

To use SCN Profit Checker, a farmer, agronomist or crop advisor provides the state name and the following field-specific information:  

The SCN Coalition’s new SCN Profit Checker tool makes it easy for farmers and their crop advisors to estimate the financial toll of soybean cyst nematode in each field.
  • SCN egg count 
  • SCN female index on PI 88788
  • Sand content of the soil 
  • Soil pH

University experts have provided default female indexes on PI 88788 for most states to use as a starting point if a farmer does not know that detail for the SCN population in a specific field. But ideally, a farmer would work with his or her agronomist or crop advisor to get an HG Type test that provides the female index for the SCN population in the field of interest. The more specific the information provided in the calculator, the more accurate the estimate. 

The tool also takes into account sand content and pH of the soil in the field because of the direct relationship with SCN reproduction.

Driving Change

The dynamic tool uses information about the field along with the farmer’s yield expectation and targeted soybean price to calculate a yield and profit hit estimate from SCN. 

“By defining and personalizing the economic toll of SCN, the new tool from The SCN Coalition generates needed attention on the pest,” says Matt Gast, United Soybean Board Supply Action Team Chair and farmer from North Dakota. “Management starts with awareness, which is why the USB funded the development of this tool that makes a business case for SCN management.” 

“Demonstrating to farmers the financial burden of SCN in dollars and cents makes it real. In doing so, The SCN Coalition hopes to motivate more farmers to actively manage the pest,” explains Iowa State University Nematologist Greg Tylka, who ran the SCN field trials used to develop the tool and is a leader of the coalition. “They can use this information to be more strategic when developing an active SCN management plan with their trusted crop advisor.”

SCN Management Goes Beyond an Individual Farmer

Controlling SCN will be critical in the years ahead, with annual global soybean consumption expected to climb roughly a third by 2035, according to Mac Marshall, vice president, market intelligence for USB.

To meet that growing soybean demand, Jack Cornell, director of sustainable supply at USB, says the best way for farmers to maximize profitability and production is to increase yields on existing acres. “When farmers think about increasing profits the focus is on creating more bushels on land that is already utilized for production,” he says. “That includes recouping bushels lost to pests like SCN. Doing so will go a long way toward meeting global demand and ensuring a more sustainable soybean future.”

The new tool is available now, putting the power of information in the hands of farmers and their crop advisors as they prepare for fall SCN soil testing. Visit today. 

1McCarville, M.T., Marett, C.C., Mullaney, M.P., Gebhart, G.D. and Tylka, G.L. Increase in soybean cyst nematode virulence and reproduction on resistant soybean varieties in Iowa from 2001 to 2015 and the effects on soybean yields. Plant Health Progress. 2017. 18(3):146-155.

Additional Resources

Soybean Cyst Nematode-Resistant Varieties Deliver Millions in Value – SRIN article

About The SCN Coalition
The SCN Coalition is a public/checkoff/private partnership formed to increase the number of farmers who are actively managing SCN. Our goal is to increase soybean farmers’ profit potential and realize higher yields. Partners in The SCN Coalition include university scientists from 28 states and Ontario, grower checkoff organizations, including the North Central Soybean Research Program, United Soybean Board and several state soybean promotion boards, and corporate partners including BASF, Bayer, Growmark, Nufarm, Pioneer (Corteva), Syngenta, UPL Ltd., Valent and Winfield United.

Published: Nov 27, 2023

The materials on SRIN were funded with checkoff dollars from United Soybean Board and the North Central Soybean Research Program. To find checkoff funded research related to this research highlight or to see other checkoff research projects, please visit the National Soybean Checkoff Research Database.