Crop Tech


By Chris Bennett and Katie Humphreys

If a field has a moderate-to-high soybean cyst nematode population, field pennycress is not a good crop choice.

Field Pennycress a SCN Host?

Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is considered the No. 1 soybean pathogen in the U.S. and can reduce yield up to 50%. SCN researchers are warning farmers about field pennycress, henbit and purple deadnettle and their relation to SCN build-up. 

“Purdue University research shows SCN reproduces well on field pennycress,” says Gregory Tylka, plant pathologist, Iowa State University. “I’m not declaring pennycress should never be used as a cover crop, but farmers should know, even if they don’t have SCN, they may be planting a host crop.” The Purdue study treated pennycress as a winter annual weed and not a cover crop, but Tylka says the results are still valid. 

Bill Johnson, professor of weed science, Purdue, says pennycress isn’t as conducive to SCN reproduction when compared to henbit or purple deadnettle, but farmers should be aware. He says after soybeans are harvested and followed with pennycress as a winter annual crop, sustained warm soil temperatures—over 50°F for a month—can create a host environment for SCN. 

“If you have a field that doesn’t have SCN, I don’t have any problem with planting field pennycress. However, if the field has a moderate-to-high SCN population, field pennycress is not going to be a good choice,” Johnson explains. 

Initially, fields infested with SCN look good and produce well, but pathogen numbers catch up and destroy yield. Early detection is vital. “If you get on top of SCN early and manage it well, you can keep it in check,” Tylka says. 

Obtaining good soil samples is the first step in fighting SCN, followed by a rotation of resistant soybeans and non-host crops, such as corn or grain sorghum. Seed treatments also offer protection against nematode feeding. 

“SCN management is about keeping population numbers low,” Tylka notes. “Dealing with high numbers is difficult.”


Unified Crop Management

Agrian Mobile was one of the first apps that creates GPS-based field maps and captures transferable crop data and scouting reports from the field in real time with offline access. The app, which features a crop protection label database with more than 7,000 product labels, reports 5 million acres scouted in 2014.  

Agrian introduced the app in 2009 as a mobile extension of its web-based ag data software platform. 

In 2015, Agrian Mobile is expanding its capabilities to include direct sampling, multi-layer imagery support and offline mobile recommendations using its crop protection 
label database.

Also in early 2015, the company will roll out a comprehensive platform that includes equipment tracking and management, incorporation of yield, seeding, etc., data and wireless data transfer. Agrian has been working with ag retail services to standardize lab data. The system will automatically streamline data instead of having to enter it. 

“The next gen software announcement will offer a broad, unbiased solution that combines everything from planting records and fertilizer applications to a document trail and reporting dashboards,” says Nishan Majarian, CEO and co-founder of Agrian. “We don’t want to make a system that just generates more data. We want to create more usable data.”

The Fresno, Calif.-based company has been in operation since 2004. Its tools are well-known in the western U.S. where there’s increased pressure points on farmers, ag retailers, applicators and food companies, as well as mandated government reporting.

“Agrian is a regulatory company in the software business,” Majarian adds. 

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