Soybean School: Building canopy for white mould control

OMAFRA plant pathologist Albert Tenuta.

Wet, humid weather across Ontario this summer has required many soybean growers to apply two fungicide applications to help control white mould.

On this episode of RealAgriculture’s Soybean School, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs plant pathologist Albert Tenuta discusses best practices to help manage the yield-robbing disease, including canopy construction.

Tenuta points out that waist-high, dense canopies can contribute to the severity of the disease by creating an environment for promoting and spreading the infection. However, white mould mitigation strategies, including wider rows and reduced populations, often run contrary to management practices designed to maximize yield. (Story continues after the video.)

“It’s a fine line,” says Tenuta, but growers can walk it by reducing plant populations in 15-inch rows or moving to 30-inch widths. Variety choice is also an important consideration. “We don’t have truly resistant varieties and tolerance is so-so,” but growers can make a more effective choice by paying attention to plant architecture when selecting seed for susceptible fields with a history of white mould.

In these situations, Tenuta recommends planting more upright varieties as opposed to shorter, bushier plants that contribute to denser canopies. “When we do that, we reduce the environment that creates white mould by allowing for greater air movement through the canopy.”

Click here for more Soybean School episodes.

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