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SDSU Plant Diagnostic Clinic

Providing research-based information on crop health in South Dakota

The Plant Diagnostic Clinic serves the state of South Dakota and the Great Plains region by providing fast and accurate plant health and diagnostic information for the agricultural and horticultural industries. We perform routine diagnosis of field crop and horticultural crop diseases, and occasionally serve as a point of contact in South Dakota for major agricultural biosecurity issues related to plant health.

The Plant Diagnostic Clinic is also the SDSU Soybean Cyst Nematode Testing Service. We provide sample analysis and management recommendations to crop managers dealing with the most damaging pest of soybeans in the world - the soybean cyst nematode (SCN). SCN samples are analyzed, free-of-charge, for South Dakota growers thanks to a grant from the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.

Goals/Mission:

  1. To serve as the main contact in South Dakota for plant and pest diagnostics relating to agricultural biosecurity.
  2. To be knowledgeable about exotic pests/pathogens that may affect South Dakota
  3. To serve as first detectors and initiate risk mitigation for threats to the agricultural system in South Dakota
  4. To serve as an expert plant health laboratory for commercial agriculture and horticulture industries in South Dakota
  5. To support any department/college teaching and research needs relating to our mission

Statistics/Service Area (cumulative since 2007)

  • Samples from 65 of 66 counties in South Dakota and parts of Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado.
  • >19,000 client samples (2007–present) received for diagnosis
  • Average just over 1500 samples per year
  • Customers include: farmers, ranchers, crop consultants, retail agronomy, cooperatives and commercial enterprises as well as homeowners and other noncommercial entities.
  • ~90% of submissions are crop related (row/grain crops)
  • ~10% of submissions relate to horticulture, turf or forestry
  • ~65% of samples submitted are commercial (growers, crop managers, retailers, etc.)
  • ~35% of samples submitted are non-commercial (homeowners, gardeners, urban, etc.)
  • In addition to client/public services, we processed ~20,000 research samples including soybean cyst nematode extraction, mycotoxin analysis, grain grinding and other analysis/processing for SDSU researchers in Plant Pathology, Agronomy, Animal Sciences and other areas.

Associations within SDSU College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, SDSU and Nationally:

  • Supports Extension Plant Pathology: provides data on plant diseases in South Dakota, laboratory services for research projects and graduate student training; publications on minor crops and horticultural issues and visibility for the program through events and appearances
  • Service to, and dependent upon SDSU Extension in South Dakota: coordinates sentinel plots and samples for educators, specialists in weeds, insects, forestry, horticulture, mycotoxicology and plant pathology
  • Supports teaching and research in the Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science department and provides diagnostic experiences for graduate students; equipment to support specific research projects; a repository for useful data and coordination of sampling and data collection for several USDA and commodity-based projects
  • Linked to other Colleges and Departments at SDSU: Worked with: College of Education and Human Resources on a Food Safety Challenge Grant to create an educational module; Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences on moldy grain, feed issues and other areas within the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental sciences; including Horticulture, Forestry, Landscape and Parks on diagnostic collaborations.
  • Connects regional and national partners in diagnostics/biosecurity: the Great Plains Diagnostic Network involves partner programs in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Texas; connected to each region through National Plant Diagnostic Network.