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CropTalk: Stop Guessing, Start Predicting

September 2020

Published on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

What would you do as a farmer if you were told you had sudden death syndrome (SDS), soybean cyst nematode (SCN), and corn rootworm pressure ahead of the growing season? What would you change on your farm?

Pattern Ag is a soil science company focused on shedding light on the microbial makeup of fields across the Midwest by using the latest in DNA sequencing. By reading the DNA from the living layer of soil, Pattern Ag can quantify the level of pathogen pressure. Beck’s has partnered with Pattern Ag to analyze production and Practical Farm Research (PFR)® plots this year. From Pattern Ag’s analysis, more informed management and input decisions for the upcoming growing season can be determined.

Casey McGuire, Regional Pattern Ag Manager, has been working alongside the production and PFR departments this year at the Atlanta, Indiana, facility. Check out her answers to some common questions about Pattern Ag!

Q: What sparked the idea for Pattern Ag?

A: The idea for Pattern Ag began from a belief that the next level of yield performance and profitability will be unlocked from underground. Farmers have been forced to guess on input decisions. We now have the technology to shed light on soil-borne pathogens and disease pressures.

Q: What can you test from the field?

Q: What can farmers do with the test results?

A: Farmers can make proactive decisions to place the right products on the right acres. Reviewing and altering hybrid selection and placement, trait and seed treatment packages are some implementable actions from looking at Pattern Ag’s results.

Q: Does Pattern Ag only test for pathogens and diseases?

A: Starting in fall of 2020, we will be able to show farmers many other microbes in their soil that are impacting crop outcomes and soil health.

Q: What insights have you gained from working with Beck’s?

A: Post-harvest 2019, we sampled four different treatments from the Long-Term Tillage Study at the Beck's Indiana PFR site.


  1. Continuous Corn: No-Till
  2. Continuous Corn: Conv. Till
  3. Corn-Soybean Rotation: No-Till
  4. Corn-Soybean Rotation: Conv. Till

Tillage Study Background

  • The longest tillage study in the state!
  • Tillage component of long-term tillage study has been in place since 1991.
  • The areas of continuous corn have been in place since 2004. 


Significantly higher levels of SDS and SCN were detected in the strips where soybeans were in rotation versus strips where soybeans haven’t been planted in 15 years. SDS was higher in no-till compared to rotated conventional tillage for the strips that had a corn-soybean rotation. These results represent the response of longer-term tillage and rotation at one location. Responses could vary at different locations and over time.

Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) Results


Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) Results

Q: What are the most impactful decisions farmers have made based on your data?

A: "I’ve had farmers decide to upgrade their seed treatment to ILeVO® based on their pathogen pressure results from our testing."

"Another farmer had some fields he didn’t realize had SDS pressure. He altered his soybean variety by planting an SDS-resistant one to strive to beat his yield-plateau."

"One farmer had phytophthora in his fields many years ago. He was concerned that it was still there. We verified from our tests that it wasn’t. Now he is delving into what other soil-borne variables could be limiting his yields."

Q: What territory does your company serve?

A: The Corn Belt states

Q: How can farmers contact Pattern Ag?

A: Email any questions to and visit our website,

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Deatra Gremaux

Deatra Gremaux

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