Current weather patterns spell trouble for soybeans

From tar spot and white mold to Soybean Cyst Nematodes—current weather patterns are making things tough of soybean producers when it comes to battling increasing crop disease pressure.


Farmers across much of rural America have seen a variety of difficult weather patterns this growing season—from drought to excess rain, and rain coupled with extreme temperatures. Recent drought conditions have also increased the presence of the common plant pest Soybean Cyst Nematodes (SCN).

According to BASF Technical Services Representative Troy Bauer, identifying the nematodes can be difficult because cysts are small — about 10 percent the size of a soybean nodule—and they can cause a 30 percent loss in yield potential before signs of the pest are even visible.

Bauer told Brownfield Ag News, due to current circumstances, they are seeing symptoms of SCN above the ground.

Experts also warn that SCN is not the only issue hitting soybeans this season. Dry conditions also make root systems more susceptible to disease when rain finally shows up, making them susceptible to SCN as well as root rot and white mold.

White mold is starting to emerge in the Midwest, according to a plant pathologist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Especially in areas where there’s been a history of it. Experts say the best management strategy is to select mold-resistant soybean varieties.

And while many times producers are praying for rain, one agronomist says a shift to wetter and cooler weather could result in even more pressure to crop diseases. He urges farmers to be on the lookout for tar spots and Northern corn leaf blight. If you see heavy disease pressure start to pop up in the next week or so, they suggest a second pass of fungicide.

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