As those ominous bright-yellow patches become evident in soybean fields throughout the Midwest, now is the time to begin thinking about on-farm management solutions for 2020 and implementing the tools you have at your disposal.
Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) is a major plant stressor and yield deterrent found throughout the Midwest. The fungal pathogen thrives in cool, wet conditions and infects the roots of the developing soybean plants shortly after planting, creating an invasive root-rot that continues to progress in severity as the plant’s root system develops. Rains throughout the months of August and September will cause the toxin to translocate from the roots to the foliage of the plant, with the upper leaves showing the most severe damage. The bright yellow color between the intervein area of the soybean leaf is the telltale SDS symptom, and infection can be confirmed by splitting the stem of a suspect plant. SDS will cause the cortex, or portion of the inner stem closest to the outer stem wall, to turn a greyish-brown. The pith of the stem will remain white. If the pith of the plant is brown and has apparent degradation, brown stem rot should be suspected.
Management options at this stage of infection are not possible and substantial yield losses should be expected in infected portions of soybean fields.
Prevention is the key to managing SDS losses. Scout and map infected areas in 2019 to plan for future soybean planting. Don’t rely on crop rotation to mitigate your risk of future SDS infection since the fungus has been shown to survive from the nourishment of other plant residues.
Because of the strong correlation between the presence of SDS and soybean cyst nematode (SCN), varieties should be selected that are resistant to both SDS and several races of SCN. Both infestation and varietal records should be kept and compared to ensure you are winning the SDS/SCN battle. To take the work out of this process, growers can implement an on-farm management system such as SureTrack FARM™ to map and designate lower-performing areas of fields, compare and select the field-tested varieties in a designated radius and, more importantly, pinpoint diseases by noting them in the ‘diseases’ section of the system’s dashboard.
This system also allows all field management application data to be stored and can be accessed at any time, with field and weather condition alerts and updates provided to keep field management current and precise.
Producers should also make an effort to reduce soil compaction in all soils to reduce the risk of SDS infection in non-infected fields and minimize the spread of SDS in infected fields.
Visit intellifarms.com/solutions/suretrack-farm for a free demonstration of the management toolkit at your fingertips that can help you manage every aspect of your operation.