Database Research Summaries
2018 Screening Cover Crops to Reduce Soybean Cyst Nematode in Infested Field

calendar_today Year of Research: 2018
update Posted On: 12/05/2019
group Guiping Yan (Principal Investigator, North Dakota State University)
bookmark North Dakota Soybean Council

Research Focus

The focus of this project is to determine and confirm whether cover crops reduce SCN numbers in infested fields and whether they are non-host crops of SCN.


Evaluate common and potential cover crop species in ND for their hosting abilities to SCN and for reducing SCN numbers in infested fields.


  1. Twenty-one cover crops and two susceptible soybean checks were evaluated for host status in a growth chamber for 35 days by inoculating each plant with 2,000 eggs. Out of the cover crops tested, 13 (annual ryegrass, camelina, carinata, cow pea, ethiopian cabbage, faba bean, foxtail millet, radish, rape dwarf essex, red clover, sweet clover, triticale, winter rye) did not support SCN reproduction, suggesting non-hosts.
  2. Six crops (crimson clover, turnip cv. Purple top, hairy vetch, forage pea, Austrian winter pea, field pea cv. Cooper) showed low reproduction for at least one SCN population as poor hosts. Field pea (Aragorn) and turnip (Pointer) showed some reproduction, suggesting hosts for at least one population.
  3. Ten cover crops were selected for micro plot experiments. After 75 days of growth before winterkill, soil samples were collected from each pot, and samples were collected again in the spring after winterkill. In both soils, majority of the crops reduced SCN populations compared to the susceptible soybean and non-planted control, in which annual ryegrass and radish were more effective than others. The spring sampling did not show much reduction in nematode populations compared to the populations before winterkill. Annual ryegrass and radish greatly reduced SCN by 61% and 64%, respectively, for the two SCN populations.


  • Cover crops, which are non-hosts with greater population reduction abilities, can be integrated in SCN management strategy. The research findings will be useful to navigate selection and use of cover crops for farmers for reducing SCN damage to increase soybean yield in ND.

For more information about this research project, please visit the National Soybean Checkoff Research Database.

Funded in part by the soybean checkoff.