Team Soybean!: 2023 Minnesota Soybean Cyst Nematode Sampling and Education Program
Sustainable Production
Lead Principal Investigator:
Angie Peltier, University of Minnesota
Co-Principal Investigators:
Project Code:
Contributing Organization (Checkoff):
Institution Funded:
Brief Project Summary:
This project will introduce the next generation of soybean producers, agronomists and ag service providers with practical, hands-on experience to best detect and monitor SCN through a focused pilot program in specific regions. The team will provide a curriculum to ag teachers/FFA club advisors to increase students’ knowledge about soybeans, their importance to the economy, and about soybean cyst nematode. SCN sampling kits will be provided so students can collect soil samples for analysis. Profession information will also be shared with students so they can learn about potential ag-related careers.
Key Beneficiaries:
#farmers, #FFA advisors, #teachers
Unique Keywords:
#education, #nematodes, #scn, #soybean cyst nematode
Information And Results
Project Summary

While sampling soil ranks toward the bottom of everyone’s list of favorite activities, it is the only way to 1) determine whether a field is infested with soybean cyst nematode (SCN), and 2) monitor SCN population densities to determine how well current SCN management is working.
The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSRPC) funded an SCN sampling and education program through the 2018-2019 “Minnesota SCN Sampling and Education Program: Awareness is the First Step Towards Effective Management” grant. Then, one of this proposal’s PIs personally spoke to more than 1,800 soybean producers at 32 in-person events in northwest Minnesota. This region of the state is a soybean powerhouse and is the most recent region infested with SCN.
Unfortunately, although thousands of sample bags and instructions for complimentary analysis were distributed, few submitted samples for analysis. SCN sampling is not as pressing of a concern to farmers concerned with getting the crop harvested, fields worked and fertilizer spread before the snow flies. The fact that only 363 samples were analyzed limited the ability of UMN Extension and MSRPC members to get a ‘30,000 ft view’ of infestations that might drive further sampling efforts and changes to production practices to more actively manage SCN.

Here, we propose a project to introduce the next generation of soybean producers, agronomists and ag service providers with practical, hands-on experience in how best to detect and monitor SCN through a pilot program focused on reaching folks in specific regions of the state. We propose offering this program to the first 50 FFA chapters expressing an interest in participating

Project Objectives

1) GOAL : Team Soybean!: 2023 Minnesota Soybean Cyst Nematode Sampling and Education Program (PI): Angie Peltier, University of Minnesota Extension, apeltier@umn.edu. Co-PI(s): Anthony Hanson (hans4022@umn.edu), UMN Extension and Seth Naeve (naeve002@umn.edu), UMN Dept. of Agronomy and Plant Genetics. Cooperator: Phyllis Bongard (bonga028@umn.edu), UMN Extension.
a. Provide an educational curriculum to Minnesota ag teachers/FFA club advisors to increase students’ general knowledge about soybeans, their importance to the rural Minnesota economy and SCN, the most yield-limiting pathogen of Minnesota soybeans.
b. Provide MSRPC-branded SCN sampling kits to FFA chapters so that they can collect soil samples for analysis from real-world farm fields, be they fields their own family or other local area producers farm. This sort of hands-on learning tends to create memorable ‘teachable moments’ for learners.
c. Provide results from SCN samples collected by FFA chapters so that students can discuss, graph and map the results of their own survey, ‘learning by doing’ about the importance of gathering real-world data to assist soybean producers’ decision making.
d. Teach students about what sample results mean and how a field’s egg count dictates management recommendations. Students will receive raw data and they will provide egg count-based management recommendations to the farmer after the results are double-checked by their instructor. This is a way to introduce students to one of the tasks of ag service providers and Extension agents.
e. Get a ‘30,000 ft’ picture of the prevalence and severity of SCN infestations in areas of MN where SCN survey data has been sparse and underrepresented.
f. Survey participating FFA instructors, FFA students and farmers to evaluate program effectiveness for increasing knowledge about SCN and SCN management and increasing the desire to periodically monitor SCN population densities.
g. Work with local ag service providers (seed salespeople, agronomists, co-op employees, Extension agents, crop scientists, farmers) to meet collectively with FFA chapters over Zoom. In order to urge students to consider a career in agriculture after graduation, they need to be able to “see themselves” in one of the varied agriculture professions; a Zoom meeting where students get to learn about the diversity of potential agriculture-related professions in agriculture directly from those professionals will go a long way toward meeting this need

Project Deliverables

This project will deliver multiple things to multiple distinct groups of people:
To soybean producers: we will provide free SCN sampling, sample analysis and individualized research-based management recommendations. As a result, this will be a hyper-local way for communities to see first-hand the value the soybean check-off provides to farmers.
To soybean producers and ag service providers alike: The ‘30,000 foot view’ of incidence and severity of SCN in farm fields sampled as part of this program will be shared with soybean producers and other agricultural professionals in-person at winter meetings (ex. Prairie Grain Conference, Best of the Best in Wheat and Soybean Research Conferences) and in print in the “On-farm Cropping Trials Northwest & West Central Minnesota and Minnesota Research Review” booklet available to producers by mail and at the Prairie Grains Conference.
To FFA teachers and students: We will provide a free SCN curriculum and sample collection kit to participating FFA chapters and guidance as teachers and students participate in an applied research project and learn how to contextualize and share sample results and recommendations with participating farmers. Students that participate in the Minnesota SCN Squad program will also receive a digital certificate of participation that they can print and display or use when applying for awards and scholarships.
To other community members: Community members will be informed about this project, the semi-local results of this project, FFA student-involvement and the Minnesota Research & Promotion Council as funders through press-releases printed in local papers.
To potential future employers of these students: We will help these future workers develop hands-on skills as they collect soil samples and interpret and communicate SCN sample results to soybean producers.

Progress Of Work

Updated September 1, 2023:

View uploaded report PDF file

Updated November 17, 2023:

View uploaded report PDF file

Final Project Results

Benefit To Soybean Farmers

This program will directly positively impact farmers by having FFA students both collect soil samples for analysis and present results and management recommendations to the farmers whose fields were sampled. In addition, this program will provide considerable positive press for the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council as FFA chapters share results of this sampling program (and its sponsor) with local papers through a kit-included, fill-in-the-blank-style press release. Lastly, this program will help to introduce the next generation of farmers and ag service providers to practical experience in: 1) interacting with farmers that are not related to them, 2) carrying out field work that will directly affect current and future crop production decisions, 3) on-farm research and mapping, and 4) understanding the tasks entailed in varied agricultural career paths, all of which will be important as they continue their studies and ultimately choose a profession.

The United Soybean Research Retention policy will display final reports with the project once completed but working files will be purged after three years. And financial information after seven years. All pertinent information is in the final report or if you want more information, please contact the project lead at your state soybean organization or principal investigator listed on the project.