Soybean cyst nematodes (SCN) are plant-parasitic worms that cause $1 billion in yield losses to U.S. soybeans annually and that number is likely to increase, says Sam Markell, NDSU Extension plant pathologist.
First detected in North Dakota in 2003, SCN continues to spread throughout the state and it is overcoming genetic resistance in much of the U.S.
“We quickly realized that many growers were largely unaware of how costly SCN could be and that mixed messages on how to manage it were creating confusion,” says Markell. “The situation was too big and too complex for any single company, university or check-off organization to address alone, thus the concept of an SCN coalition was born in late 2015.”
One of the largest national programs ever led by NDSU Extension, the SCN coalition combines financial support and research knowledge from state and national soybean check-off organizations, major agrochemical companies and land-grant universities.
The SCN coalition uses multiple forms of mass, social and digital media to spread awareness about the costly effects of SCN and provides information on how to manage the worm.
Highlights since the launch of the SCN coalition in 2018 include:
- The coalition has resulted in more than 18 million potential impressions through the ag media.
- News conferences, news releases, learning center sessions and other media events at national trade shows such as the Commodity Classic and Farm Progress Show reached millions of growers.
- In the December 2018 issue of Corn+Soybean Digest, a 32-page SCN insert was distributed to 113,000 growers across the U.S.
As a public-private partnership, the SCN coalition is well positioned to address a national problem at a local level.
“When we combine the national presence of the SCN coalition with the strong local support of the North Dakota Soybean Council, ag companies, NDSU Extension and others, we have a great opportunity to help North Dakota soybean growers,” says Markell. “We are all working together to save growers money by managing SCN, and the SCN coalition is a powerful program that is helping us achieve that.”