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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.


  1. To serve as the main contact in SD for plant & 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 & initiate risk mitigation for threats to the agricultural system in SD
  4. To serve as an expert plant health laboratory for commercial ag./hort. industries in SD
  5. To support any department/college teaching & research needs relating to our mission


Statistics/Service Area (cumulative since 2007)

  • Samples from 65 of 66 counties in South Dakota and parts of IA, NE, MN, ND, WY, and CO.
  • 18,529 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 ~19,000 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, SDSU, and Nationally:

  • Supports Extension Plant Pathology: provides data on plant diseases in SD, laboratory services for research projects & graduate student training; publications on minor crops & horticultural issues; and visibility for the program through events & appearances
  • Service to, and dependent upon Cooperative Extension Service in SD: coordinates sentinel plots & samples for educators, specialists in weeds, insects, forestry, horticulture, mycotoxicology, and plant pathology
  • Supports teaching and research in the Plant Science Department: provides: diagnostic experiences for graduate students; equipment to support specific research projects; a repository for useful data; coordination of sampling & data collection for several USDA and commodity-based projects
  • Linked to other Colleges and Departments at SDSU: Worked with: College of Education & Human Science on a Food Safety Challenge Grant to create an educational module; Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences on moldy grain, feed issues; Horticulture, Forestry, Landscape & Parks on diagnostic collaborations.
  • Connects regional and national partners in diagnostics/biosecurity: the Great Plains Diagnostic Network involves partner programs in ND, SD, MT, NE, CO, KS, OK, WY, and TX; connected to each region through National Plant Diagnostic Network.