Wednesday, April 17, 2024

UT plant pathologist part of award-winning SCN Coalition

soil sampling for nematodes
Promoting soil sampling for soybean cyst nematode is part of the SCN Coalition’s public relations campaign — photo courtesy SCN Coalition

The SCN Coalition – a public/checkoff/private partnership formed in 2018 to increase the number of growers actively managing soybean cyst nematode  – won a nationalBest of NAMA Award in 2019 for their public relations campaign.

The National Agri-Marketing Association is the largest U.S. association for marketing and agribusiness, and the Best of NAMA Awards honor the nation’s best work in agricultural communications. Since its launch, The SCN Coalition’s public relations efforts have made 12.1 million impressions among North America’s soybean growers.

“The SCN Coalition is a large team effort, and there are dozens of people responsible for our successful campaign launch,” says Samuel Markell, plant pathologist at North Dakota State University and leader of coalition. “We built the SCN Coalition as a public-private partnership. This includes university scientists in 28 states and Ontario.”

Tennessee is represented by Heather Kelly, a University of Tennessee Extension plant pathologist and associate professor with the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. Kelly is housed at the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center. Her research and extension programs focus on the major disease challenges for Tennessee producers.

Markell says the goal of coalition’s campaign is to have the entire industry speak with one voice in an effort to reduce the economic loss that soybean growers are facing from SCN.

It starts with “Take the test. Beat the pest.” Growers need to know their SCN numbers, and that starts by testing their fields so they know what their nematode populations are doing.

“SCN is North America’s top yield-limiting pest in soybeans. Unfortunately, research shows SCN populations are adapting and reproducing on PI 88788, the source of resistance used in 95 percent of all SCN-resistant varieties, and yields are decreasing,” Markell says. “Most soybean growers are not aware that their yield loss is increasing. That’s why we formed the coalition.”

To learn more about the SCN Coalition, or to find state-specific recommendations, go to

The University of Tennessee contributed this article.

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