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Disease Identification: Sudden Death Syndrome

November 11, 2022
typical sudden death syndrome symptoms

Foliar symptoms of Sudden Death Syndrome on late season soybeans

Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) is one of the top yield-robbing soybean diseases in the U.S., and development of the disease can be triggered by cool, wet soils. With many attempting to plant earlier each season, cooler temperatures at planting may set fields up for higher SDS pressure later on.

If you’ve experienced severe SDS pressure in your fields before, you know it can result in significant yield losses; the University of Minnesota Extension says losses can be greater than 50%. Yield losses due to SDS can be dependent on several factors, including the climate, the timing of symptom development and the presence of other damaging soybean diseases like Soybean Cyst Nematode.

Some crop production practices may also increase the risk of disease development. Fields with poor soil nutrients, low pH, poor drainage, or moderate to severe soil compaction are at higher risk of SDS.

Watch as Nick Groth, Syngenta agronomy service representative, discusses the key considerations when scouting for SDS:

Groth highlights the following ways to identify SDS presence in your mid- to late-season soybeans:

  • Foliar symptomology is the most telltale sign of SDS infection. Leaves will show signs of interveinal chlorosis, or a yellowing and browning of tissue between leaf veins in the upper soybean canopy.
  • Once you’ve identified signs of interveinal chlorosis, look for plants experiencing leaf drop where the petiole is still attached.
  • Test a few of your plants by opening the stem and examining the center. If the pith is brown, your plants may be experiencing brown stem rot infection instead. If the pith remains white, examine the roots for signs of disease.
  • Root rot can be present even without foliar symptomology. Plants infected with SDS may be easily pulled out of the ground due to root deterioration. You may even see the presence of a bluish mold on the outside of the root, which is a clear sign of SDS.

To reduce the risk of SDS outbreaks in 2023, consider:

  • Planting soybean varieties with SDS-resistance.
  • Planting fields with a history of SDS later because young, slower-growing plants are more susceptible to infection.
  • Taking measures to avoid or reduce soil compaction.
  • Treating your seeds with a seed treatment that performs well against SDS. We recommend Saltro® fungicide seed treatment, which provides superior protection against SDS without added stress on soybeans.

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