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Sudden death syndrome showing up in southern Minnesota

Agriculture.com Staff 12/01/2015 @ 10:32am

Symptoms of sudden death syndrome (SDS) are appearing in southern Minnesota soybean fields.

Sudden death syndrome first appeared in Minnesota in 2002 and has been studied by University of Minnesota plant pathologist Jim Kurle. The disease has occurred most frequently in scattered locations in south-central Minnesota, says Dean Malvick, plant pathologist with University of Minnesota Extension.

Symptoms of SDS are found on the leaves and roots. Yellow, diffuse spots develop between the veins on leaves, and the leaves may become cupped or curled. The spots typically enlarge and then develop into brown lesions that are surrounded by yellow areas. Leaves often detach from the leafstalks as the disease progresses. Roots typically become rotted, and the inside of the lower stem becomes light brown in color. The pith in the center of the stems remains white.

SDS symptoms are typically reported to develop in Minnesota in early- to late-August.

"It's hard to predict when, where, and how severe SDS will become," said Malvick. "Many things influence disease development."

According to Malvick, some factors that seem to favor development of SDS in the Midwest include:

  • compacted soil and poor drainage,
  • moderate to high populations of Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN),
  • wet soil conditions after planting,
  • environments favorable for high soybean yields,
  • soybean varieties with poor ratings for SDS resistance,
  • early planting, and heavy rainfalls throughout the summer.

Yield losses from SDS can ultimately be reduced by planting cultivars with relatively high levels of tolerance or partial resistance to SDS. Crop rotation has not shown consistent benefits for SDS management.

Malvick says it may be beneficial to plant later than normal where SDS has been a problem, improve soil drainage and reduce compaction if possible, and to plant varieties resistant to SCN.

A more detailed article by Malvick, including colored pictures illustrating the disease, is available in Extension's Minnesota Crop eNews here.

The University of Minnesota would like to receive plant and soil samples from suspected fields to help understand and develop control measures for the disease, which can cause significant yield losses. Suspect samples can be mailed to:

Malvick Lab/SDS Project
University of Minnesota
495 Borlaug Hall
1991 Upper Buford Circle
St. Paul, MN 55018

Symptoms of sudden death syndrome (SDS) are appearing in southern Minnesota soybean fields.

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