Crop Disease Screening

The Soybean Cultivar Disease Screening Program at the SWREC

Funded by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board, the Soybean Cultivar Disease Screening Program serves the farmers of the state by providing comprehensive disease response information on approximately 300 soybean cultivars per year.  At the SWREC, these soybean cultivars are screened annually for response to soybean cyst nematode, root-knot nematode, and stem canker, a soil-borne fungal disease.  Other screening efforts that fall under this program but are not conducted at the SWREC include aerial blight, frogeye leaf spot, and reniform nematode screens. 

The two nematode screens conducted the SWREC require a properly managed greenhouse environment in which the population of the nematodes is maintained for optimum performance resulting in an accurate screen.  The stem canker disease screen is a field screen and is subject to Arkansas’ ever-changing weather and environment.  However, the screen is artificially inoculated with the causal fungus, which is cultured on sterilized grain sorghum and then introduced to young plants to ensure the pathogen is present, and then the screen is sprinkle irrigated to promote infection.  

 The results of the Soybean Cultivar Disease Screening Program are available in the late fall of each year on the Arkansas Variety Testing website (www.arkansasvarietytesting.org) and in the Soybean Update published by the Cooperative Extension Service.