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Soybean diseases explode

Agriculture.com Staff 10/31/2009 @ 9:42am

Cool, wet growing conditions this year have increased disease pressure in some soybean fields, cutting into yields and crop quality. While this season will soon be history, lessons learned from 2009 can help growers better select soybean varieties to combat diseases for next year to maximize yields, say experts from Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business.

"Heavy disease pressure has been reported this year in fields to diseases such as white mold, soybean cyst nematode (SCN) and brown stem rot (BSR)," Pioneer senior marketing manager for soybeans Don Schafer says in a company report.

According to Schafer, white mold has been reported across most states in the northern Corn Belt including Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Nebraska. A sporadic disease that does not have widespread incidence every year, white mold can survive up to 10 years in soils, necessitating more than just rotation with nonhost crops like corn, sorghum and small grains.

"2009 is one of the heaviest years for white mold we have seen in the past 10 years," Schafer says.

Brown stem rot surfaced in areas where it's common, like northern Illinois, northern Indiana, southwest Michigan and southern Minnesota. But, it's also showing up in atypical areas such as northeast Nebraska and South Dakota.

Schafer reports other diseases like sudden death syndrome (SDS) are afflicting new areas as well.

"We're also seeing SDS pressure in new places," Schafer says. "The geographies impacted by SDS have expanded this year, with the disease moving both west and north."

As one of the most destructive soybean pests, SCN infestations pose another chronic threat to crops. Annually, SCN costs growers more than $1 billion. Effectively managing nematodes requires scouting, sampling and rotating crops and using sources of SCN resistance. To complicate matters, the presence of SCN can cause further stress in fields already plagued with BSR or SDS. Selecting the right combination of genetics, agronomic and defensive traits with specific seed treatments will help set the stage for growers to have a successful soybean crop.

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Cool, wet growing conditions this year have increased disease pressure in some soybean fields, cutting into yields and crop quality. While this season will soon be history, lessons learned from 2009 can help growers better select soybean varieties to combat diseases for next year to maximize yields, say experts from Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business.

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