A common tool used to manage a destructive soybean pest is losing its effectiveness, warned a Kansas State University nematologist.

Scientists at a recent meeting of Midwestern plant nematologists reported that they had observed a steady decrease in effectiveness of PI 88788 resistance against the soybean cyst nematode.

“This is becoming a serious concern for Kansas soybean producers,” said Tim Todd, research nematologist in K-State’s Department of Plant Pathology.

PI 88788 is a common source of genetic resistance to the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) that was introduced into many soybean varieties to counter the pest.

The nematodes cost U.S. soybean producers more than $1 billion each year in lost yields, according to some estimates, Todd said.

Every major soybean growing county in Kansas is infested this year.

The availability of alternative sources of resistance is currently limited.

“Kansas soybean farmers desperately need additional sources of resistance against this widespread pest,” Todd said.

The scientists concluded that a coordinated approach using multiple management options, such as alternating soybeans with non-host crops, planting SCN-resistant soybean varieties and using nematode-protectant seed treatments, provide the greatest likelihood of sustained success for producing soybeans profitably in SCN-infested fields.

They also planned coordinated research projects for upcoming years, including work on nematode-resistant varieties, non-host crops, seed treatments, new nematode detection methods and soil health.

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