Welcome To Our New Nematologist, Dr. Lei Zhang

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Lei Zhang as our new Nematologist at Purdue University. Dr. Zhang is an Assistant Professor of Nematology at Purdue University, with a joint appointment between Department of Botany & Plant Pathology and Department of Entomology. Dr. Zhang received his PhD in Molecular Plant Sciences at Washington State University (WSU) and then conducted postdoctoral research on plant-parasitic nematodes at North Carolina State University and WSU. Dr. Zhang’s research program at Purdue will focus on studying plant-parasitic nematodes causing serious crop yield losses in Indiana, including soybean cyst nematode and root-knot nematodes. Dr. Zhang’s interest includes applied research on nematode diagnostics and management, and also basic research on molecular plant-nematode interactions. The overarching goal of research is to develop effective and sustainable tactics for nematode control in agriculture.

To help Dr. Zhang kick off his research program he is collaborating with Dr. Telenko, Extension Field Crop Pathologist, to increase the awareness of soybean cyst nematode and resistance management in Indiana.

We are providing FREE soybean cyst nematode (SCN) soil testing to Indiana growers with partial support from the SCN Coalition and National Soybean Board.  We are looking for soil samples from fields this fall and spring 2021 for SCN counts.  If, you have some trouble fields that you have not had a recent SCN test please consider sending us a soil sample.  These samples will also assist Dr. Zhang to begin his research program to improve nematode diagnostics and management for Indiana.

To take soil samples for SCN Testing

The equipment you need for sampling soil for soybean cyst nematode is the same equipment you use for taking a soil sample for soil nutrient analysis: a soil probe, a bucket, and a plastic soil bag.

To collect soil samples for SCN diagnosis, we recommend you collect 10 to 20 of cores of soil, each with 1 inch-diameter and 6 to 8 inches-depth in a 20-acre area. If the field is larger, break the field into 20-acre units and take 10 to 20 cores per unit.

Take cores from within root zones and use a zig-zag or M-pattern to collect soil cores. In addition, you may also want to include samples from a high-risk area, such as near a field entrance, areas where the yield seems to be a little lower than the last time soybeans were grown, or along fence lines where wind-blown soil accumulates.

Bulk the cores in a container and mix thoroughly. Take the time to mix the sample. The better the sample is mixed the better it represents the whole field. Put ~ 500 cm3 or 1 pint of the thoroughly-mixed soil in a plastic bag and label it with a permanent marker. Don’t put a paper label inside the bag. The moist soil will make it unreadable by the time the sample reaches us.

Soybean Cyst Nematode sample form.

Soybean Cyst Nematode sample form.

Please keep the sample at room temperature or cooler and keep out of the sun or hot truck cab until you are ready to pack and ship it. Pack the samples in a box and cushion the samples with packing material so the bags don’t break open during shipping. Please fill out the attached form, including your name, address, phone number and email address and send with your sample. Be sure to indicate the county where the sample was collected and any field designation needed to help you identify the location when your results are sent. The soybean cyst nematode collection form can also be downloaded from this link: https://ag.purdue.edu/btny/ppdl/Documents/PPDL-3-W%20SCN%20Survey.pdf

Ship to: Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory
LSPS-Room 116, Purdue University
915 W. State Street
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2054
Phone: 765-494-7071

Visit the SCN Coalition: https://www.thescncoalition.com/ for more information.

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