Soybean cyst nematode: A concern to Idaho growers

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) Although the soybean cyst nematode hasn't been found in Idaho, the threat it poses to major agricultural exports has growers and farmers concerned.

"The concern is when we bring seed in from areas that have the nematode and introduce it here.," President and CEO of Idaho Seed Bean Company John Dean said. "That will infect and impact the sugar industry, the dry bean industry"

Even though soybeans aren't a popular crop in Idaho, and soybean seed bean has to be approved and purchased within the state, Dean said some farmers want to try to grow the crop.

"There has been some interest to grow soybeans in Southern Idaho," Dean said.

The plant parasitic nematode can find hosts in legumes such as beans and alfalfa. It suppresses root growth and can result in high losses for growers.

"Because they feed on the roots they cause pretty significant crop loss, Kathy Stewart-Williams, Twin Falls Area Manager of the Idaho Crop Improvement Association. "Were talking enough to where you can't really see it. All the way up to a 50 percent yield reductions, and that's a big hit "

In 2006, a similar parasite, the potato cyst nematode was discovered in Idaho and had a devastating impact on potato farmers. In fact, the nation of Japan halted all Idaho potato exports to the country for close to 11 years.

"It left a mark on Idaho," Stewart-Williams said. "It's a good lesson. If we don't have another problem like that we sure don't want it invited in."

Dean said since that time, Idaho has built a reputation of growing nematode free crops.

"Idaho has kind of a world wide reputation for disease free bean seed," he said.

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