Pythium is a soilborne pathogen that is present in nearly all soybean fields and causes seedling rot and/or damping-off. There is a broad range of Pythium species, meaning the disease can be active at soil temperatures ranging from 32°F to 85°F. Pythium can infect within 1.5 hours of planting.1
“Pythium is probably our No. 1 seedling pathogen, followed by Fusarium, then Phytophthora and Rhizoctonia,” said Dr. Robertson.
“Based on research, one of the things we’ve learned is that Pythium is a lot more significant than we originally thought. Damage can be especially high during cool, wet springs, which favor infection of soybean seedlings by this pathogen.”
Phytophthora thrives in wet conditions. It can inhibit nearly all phases of growth and damage seedlings and plants. This disease occurs most commonly in heavy, wet clay soils with poor drainage and is often found in compacted areas
of a field.
Phytophthora infection causes root rot and stem rot, leading to seedling decay and damping-off under warm, damp conditions. “This will likely lead to stunted plants, which are less vigorous and produce less pods and/or smaller seeds per pod and lower yields,” said Dr. Robertson.
If severe enough, damage caused by Phytophthora can force growers to replant all or parts of fields, added costs that are likely not part of an already tight budget.
While symptoms of these diseases may be easy to spot, they are not necessarily easy to diagnose. Yellowing of leaves or weak stalks may mimic symptoms of herbicide damage or drought.
1 Stanghellini ME and Hancock JG, 1971a
Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) is present in soybean fields across 30 states and causes about $1.5 billion in economic loss to U.S. soybean farmers annually.
Seed protectants can help shield soybean seeds and seedlings from early disease, insect and nematode pressure.
A common rotation of soybeans, corn, soybeans will help control SCN.
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