Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) is wreaking havoc on Iowa soybean fields. In years when there is sustained cool temperatures early in the growing season, the fusarium soil fungus that causes SDS gains strength and takes hold of a plant more easily, says east tour agronomist Mark Bernard.
Pod counts were lower in Iowa crop district three says Richard Guse, a farmer and veteran crop scout from Waseca, Minn. "I didn’t figure it on percentage, but it was definitely down. There was probably 90% that had sudden death in them. One field was probably 30% defoliated."
Doug Miller from Greene, Iowa, saw fairly consitent pod counts on his route that travelled mostly straight north from Iowa City to the tour’s final stop in Austin, Minn., on Thursday night. While the consistency was there, he witnessed a lot of SDS on Thursday.
As bad as it was in northern Iowa, yesterday was worse, says Roger Bernard, the east tour director. "South of I-80, there are some fields that are smoked from SDS. When we got into Iowa, we knew we’d see it. In Indiana we saw pockets of fields, but when we got into Iowa there were swaths across fields. Now, as we moved north, I think things lessened in terms of severity, but it was still present. That will be a factor that becomes more evident as harvest comes. Route was more central to north central."