Soybean School: Time to scout for disease and plan for protection

Sudden death syndrome can flourish in soybeans in cool, wet growing conditions.

It’s been an unusual year across Ontario and growers could see more of the same as the soybean crop emerges from cool, wet soils, says Albert Tenuta, plant pathologist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs.

Tenuta believes the backward spring, which has pushed soybean planting to late June across the province, could have serious disease implications for the crop. Earlier this week, Tenuta told growers attending a Huron Tractor combine clinic at company headquarters at Exeter, Ont., that he’s already receiving reports of soybean root rot in Essex County.

In most cases, that’s something growers should expect, says Tenuta, as soil-borne diseases such as phytophthora and pythium tend to flourish in planting conditions experienced in 2019. Growers will also need to keep an eye out for rhizoctonia and fusarium, as well.

On this episode of RealAgriculture’s Soybean School, Tenuta says growers need to scout early, scout often and look for everything as spring turns to summer. Sudden death syndrome (SDS) is another yield robber that could have a significant impact in 2019. One of the strategies for managing this fungal disease is to plant later into warmer, drier conditions, but that’s been difficult if not impossible to find in Ontario this spring. Tenuta notes that when SDS is present, soybean cyst nematode may have a foothold in the field as well. (Story continues after the video.)

White mould is also on Tenuta’s radar screen. It too likes cool, wet conditions. “If the forecast is correct, we may have a situation where conditions are quite favourable for white mould.”

Here’s where growers need to have a clear fungicide strategy to effectively manage white mould at R1 to R1.5 — just before full flower and pod initiation. Tenuta says it’s important to distinguish this timing from fungicide application at R3, which is geared to protecting the plant against late-season disease.

In the video, Tenuta also discusses Sporecaster, a new white mould management tool. This phone app assesses white mould risk factors in a specific field and makes recommendations on the most appropriate timing for fungicide application.

Click here for more Soybean School episodes.

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