Waukesha, Wis. (Oct. 2, 2023) – Weeks of buildup have culminated in National Nematode Day and the announcement of four $500 sweepstakes winners:
- Alison Blundell
- Richard Molenaar
- Joe Wang
- Bob Bischoff
These winners qualified for the sweepstakes drawing by correctly answering questions posed in a series of “Are You Smarter Than a Nematode?” quizzes. The SCN Coalition-led effort to spread awareness about nematodes and why managing parasitic ones like soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is so important to agriculture and food security was sponsored by BASF, Bayer, Nufarm and Syngenta.
Ensuring SCN is top of mind for farmers
“National Nematode Day has been a fun and engaging way of spreading the word about nematodes and the threat those like SCN, Southern root-knot nematode and reniform nematode pose to crops,” says Greg Tylka, nematologist at Iowa State University and a leader of The SCN Coalition. “The monthlong campaign leading up to National Nematode Day brought parasitic nematodes to more people’s attention, paving the way for increased soil testing this fall.”
As the No. 1 yield-robbing pathogen for the North American soybean crop, attention on SCN is certainly warranted. SCN can cut significant bushels from yield without soybean plants showing visible symptoms. Consequently, farmers and their advisors may not even be aware of the threat. That’s why attention-generating events like National Nematode Day are important.
With awareness comes action
The SCN Coalition often says the first step in actively managing SCN is knowing what you have in your fields. The National Nematode Day promotions kept SCN on farmers’ and agronomists’ minds, which hopefully will prompt them to test soils this fall.
Those post-harvest soil tests can guide farmers’ active SCN management strategies. The results can also show farmers whether their SCN management tactics have been effective or if they need to make revisions. SCN soil testing is so important that some state checkoff organizations offer to pay for the processing of samples.
The Coalition’s new SCN Profit Checker tool also adds urgency to test soils this fall. The tool estimates how much SCN is costing farmers in any given field. Seeing that impact laid out in dollars and cents is an attention grabber that drives home the need for active SCN management.
At its core, National Nematode Day is about awareness. On the farm, awareness is an important step on the path to active management. At the industry level, awareness is the precursor to new research and tools for fighting SCN. Learn more about what you can do to manage SCN.