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Sudden Death Syndrome Affects 2010 Soybean Crop

Aug 18, 2010

Question: We have something in our beans called sudden death syndrome.  What is it?  How will it affect that crop? Can anything be done about it? How fast and how long does it spread? 

Answer: Sudden death syndrome (SDS) is a really nasty fungal disease. A lot of the Midwest experienced cool, wet weather at planting and through the early part of the growing season, and these factors probably helped contribute to the development of SDS in your fields. Some varieties are more susceptible than others, and agronomic factors also will play a role in how severely your crop ends up being affected. The ultimate impact on a soybean crop in a given field can vary between limited yield loss to loss that reaches nearly 100 percent. Foliar symptoms tend to progress very quickly, thus the name sudden death. At this point in the season, you can expect to see infected plants with roots that are rotting near the crown. Infected plants also tend to be very easy to pull up by hand. I would encourage you to send some of the infected soybean plants—roots and all—to your local university extension disease clinic or consulting agronomist to evaluate and confirm that SDS is what you’re dealing with. There’s not much you can do this year to remedy the situation, unfortunately. For 2011, look into using SCN-resistant varieties and/or rotating to non-host crops. If you use conservation tillage practices, consider pulling out the moldboard plow. Good soil drainage and delayed planting can also help.
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