The 2014 growing season taught farmers that Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) can cause a very sudden drop in yield and profit. What farmers may not have realized is SDS really isn’t all that sudden: slow and painful death may be a more accurate description. The fungus develops when the plant is a seedling and requires warm, wet conditions to trigger SDS symptoms in more mature stages.
Widespread devastation of SDS is behind the research and release of several new products. For instance, Bayer CropScience launched ILeVO for the 2015 growing season and is positioned to alleviate SDS pressure.
Kevin Bugg, Bayer CropScience SeedGrowth efficacy manager, says ILeVO reduces the infection or growth of Fusarium virguliforme on soybean seedling roots. This reduces SDS foliar symptoms in later stages of the growing season.
Cutting the fungus’ impact as a seedling is critical to decreasing symptoms in mature stages. The fungus travels through the plant and results in leaf loss and pod abortion.
“If we understand why, we know how to fix things with science,” says Jim Blome, President and CEO Bayer CropScience North America.
According to the United Soybean Board, 60% to 70% of soybeans seeds are treated with fungicide. But, addressing SDS in seedling stages through seed treatment is relatively new to the industry.
“We forecast ILeVO will be on 1.5 million acres in 2015,” says Jennifer Riggs, product development manager seed treatment, Bayer CropScience.
Other seed and chemical companies are also investing in products to address SDS issues. Syngenta’s product is Clarica Complete Beans with Mertect 340-F, a soybean treatment combination also released for the 2015 growing season.
“With Clariva Complete Beans and Mertect 340-F, Syngenta provides growers with additional options to reduce damage from SDS,” says Wouter Berkhout, seedcare product lead, Syngenta.
Clariva Complete Beans protects the plant by decreasing nematode damage in roots, which reduces the entrance for the fusarium fungus responsible for SDS, Berkhout says. This should increase plant health during early growth stages by decreasing susceptibility. In addition, Mertect 340-F has direct activity against the fusarium fungus.