The real threat to soybean yields: Pythium & Phytophthora. How to fight it before it starts

With so many variables plaguing the minds of soybean growers throughout the season, seed and seedling disease shouldn’t be a concern. But, in recent years, two such diseases—Phytophthora and Pythium—have proved to be among the most devastating yield-robbing soil diseases.

Phytophthora is the top disease impacting soybean yields. Over the past 12 years, more than 500 million soybean bushels have been lost to Phytophthora infection. Phytophthora can attack and rot seeds prior to emergence, and causes a light brown soft rot on roots and the hypocotyl as the seedling emerges.

Comparably, Pythium causes seed rot after planting or seedling damping- off (dying) shortly after emergence.

One of the biggest threats for growers is the rapid speed at which Pythium attacks the soybean seed. The disease pathogens live in the soil, waiting for the right moisture and temperature conditions in order to activate. Pythium can strike seedlings within 90 minutes of planting. Dr. Alison Robertson, extension field pathologist at Iowa State University, has been researching Phytophthora and Pythium and how the disease complex interacts with environmental conditions.

“One of the things we’ve learned over the past five years, based on research, is that [Phytophthora and Pythium] are a lot more significant than we originally thought,” Robertson said. “And especially these cooler winters and springs we’ve been having [are] helping this pathogen survive.”

To stop threats before they start, growers are turning to the proven power of INTEGO™ SUITE Soybeans. The dual mode of action in INTEGO SUITE creates a complete zone of protection around the seedling above and below ground. Plus, INTEGO SUITE protects against Phytophthora and a wider spectrum of Phytophthora and Pythium species, even species not controlled by metalaxyl.

Phytophthora and Pythium are an every year problem while sudden death syndrome (SDS) occurrence is more variable,” said Todd Mayhew, product development manager with Valent U.S.A. Corporation. “The reality is, Phytophthora and Pythium cause more yield loss than SDS and require two modes of action due to metalaxyl/mefenoxam-resistant Pythium species.”

INTEGO SUITE is the only seed treatment combining metalaxyl with ethaboxam, a new mode of action against Phytophthora and Pythium. In trials, INTEGO SUITE increased yield by 1.5 bu/A in soybeans above competitive seed treatments, and INTEGO SUITE offers consistent soybean coverage and smooth flowability during the treatment process. What’s more, INTEGO SUITE offers broad spectrum insect protection at a low use rate.

“This is good news for soybean growers looking to optimize yields,” Mayhew said. “INTEGO SUITE gets soybeans off to the best start possible and reduces re-plants caused by insects and disease.”

To learn more about the threat of Phytophthora and Pythium, visit