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Pythium: The profit-munching pathogen

March 28, 2016

In the animal kingdom, some predators prefer to prey on the weak. Similarly, in agriculture, soybeans are most vulnerable to predators when they’re young. Pythium, the fungal-like pathogen, can attack soybeans anytime but prefers to prey on the developing seedling. It can cause either pre-emergence or post-emergence damping-off, a disease resulting in the collapse and death of the developing seedling prior to stand establishment. There are several conditions that allow this unrelenting pathogen to creep through the soil and deal, sometimes fatal, blows to soybeans.

Factors that increase the risk of Pythium include:

  • Early planting
  • Cooler soil temperatures
  • Saturated soils
  • Low-lying fields with poor drainage
  • Heavy, clay soils

Symptoms of Pythium can be spotted by scouting soybean fields from a week post planting through the V2 growth stage. Infected seedlings will have water-soaked lesions on the stems and roots. Established plants may not have soft roots, but they could appear yellow, stunted or wilted.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension warns that in fields where early planting coincides with wet weather, Pythium will often show up. A seed treatment fungicide is recommended as the best management practice for fields susceptible to Pythium.

CruiserMaxx® Beans with Vibrance® seed treatment, a combination of separately registered products, offers best-in-class protection for your fields. It uses its three fungicides to protect against widespread seedborne and soilborne diseases. In addition, CruiserMaxx Beans with Vibrance optimizes root health with efficient soil mobility and systemic movement throughout the plant.

There are many advantages to planting soybeans early in the season, but the risks of heavy rainfall and cool soil temperatures should also be considered. CruiserMaxx Beans with Vibrance enables you to start strong so that your fields can reach their maximum yield potential, no matter the conditions. Don’t let Pythium nibble away at soybean plants. Protecting seeds and seedlings in the beginning helps reap the rewards at harvest.

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