Amid the post-harvest and holiday flurry of activities this time of year, a Kansas State University plant pathologist reminds soybean growers that now is a good time to check for soybean cyst nematode (SCN) and to plan seed purchases accordingly.

"Immediately after harvest is always a good time to test for SCN, or if you know you have SCN, to check the current population levels," said Doug Jardine, Extension plant pathology state leader with K-State Research and Extension.

For help with sampling, Jardine suggests that growers check with their county or district Extension office. Some of those offices have soil probes that can be loaned out.

" Collecting a soil sample to check for SCN is much like taking a regular soil fertility sample, but you´ll want to go a little deeper - about 6 to 8 inches," he said. "When sampling for SCN, it´s also important to take the sample directly from the plant row. You want to make sure there are roots in the sample, because that´s where you´ll find the nematodes, if they´re present."

Jardine encourages those producers who have SCN in their fields to look for SCN-resistant varieties with high levels of resistance when buying seed for the 2010 crop.

"Many producers, especially in northeast and south central Kansas, had Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) in their soybean fields this year," he added. "Because we usually find soybean cyst nematode present in fields where we´ve also found SDS, those producers will want to look for varieties that are resistant to both. Not all varieties that are resistant to one are necessarily resistant to the other."

In other soybean research conducted by Jardine in 2009, there was a 6.5 percent yield advantage to using a fungicide seed treatment.

Jardine recommends treating all soybean seed that will be planted before May 15 with a fungicide seed treatment. In addition, all soybeans being planted into no-till fields before the end of May should have a fungicide seed treatment on them. Growers can request seed treatment be applied to their seed at the time they make their order, or they can have it applied by a local seed conditioning facility in the spring prior to planting, or use one of the available "hopper box" formulations that can be applied in the field at planting time.