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Managing Sudden Death Syndrome in Soybean Fields

January 18, 2017
Agtonomic image of sudden death syndrome

Sudden death syndrome (SDS) has the potential to significantly reduce soybean yields. The majority of U.S. soybean growers are affected by SDS 1 in every 4 years; however, the actual impact will vary significantly per field and year.

Fusarium virguliforme, a fungus that lives in the soil, causes SDS and can infect soybean roots soon after emergence. It develops in the roots and sometimes in the lower stem of the plant. The pathogen can survive in soybean debris and soil for many years, even with crop rotation. Early planting, cool soil temperatures and high moisture levels promote disease development.

While management options are limited, there are measures you can take to proactively reduce the risk of SDS outbreaks:

  • Plant fields without a history of SDS first. Fields with a history of SDS should be planted later because young, slower growing plants are more susceptible to infection.
  • Reduce soil compaction.
  • Manage soybean cyst nematode (SCN) populations, which have the potential to limit SDS severity.

Using a soybean variety with tolerance to SDS can also help manage this disease. NK® Soybeans have proven tolerance to SCN, SDS and other pests and diseases.

Another way to combat SDS is to use a seed treatment such as Clariva® Complete Beans, a combination of separately registered products, that offers season-long SCN protection and helps reduce damage from SCN-related diseases including SDS. Additionally, Mertect® 340-F seed treatment fungicide with direct activity on SDS provides a double mode of action to help manage the disease.

When it comes to SDS, it’s important to utilize all the tools in your toolbox. Start the season strong – be proactive and have a disease management plan.

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All photos are the property of Syngenta or are used with permission.