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Don’t Let Phytophthora Ruin Soybean Fields

June 8, 2017
This agronomic image shoes phytophthora root rot.

Conditions in many parts of the Corn Belt have been just warm and wet enough for Phytophthora root rot to crop up in many soybean fields. The pathogen, which has more than 50 genetic forms in North America, often initially presents itself in seedlings, but it can stay for the long haul, wreaking havoc from the beginning to the end of the growing season.

Knowing what to look for and how to prevent the disease can help minimize damage in soybean fields.

  • What to look for: Scouting throughout the season can help for future years. University of Minnesota Extension recommends looking for the following symptoms at each stage of the season:
    • Early season: Seedlings and plants at later vegetative stages that have infected stems will likely appear bruised with yellowing leaves.
    • Mid- to late season: Brown lesions may start to appear on the roots as they begin to rot. Leaves will continue to yellow and wilt, staying attached to the plant even after it begins to die.
  • How to prevent it: Growers can get ahead of Phytophthora root rot by taking the following management steps:
    • Increase drainage and avoid soil compaction to create a field environment that reduces the likelihood of saturated soils.
    • Plant soybean varieties with built-in genetic tolerance. Phytophthora is more likely to affect fields that have had a history of the disease in the past.
    • Maintain records of fields that have had a history of Phytophthora and evaluate the effectiveness of the resistant genes planted.

Contact your local seed reseller for more information.

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