Sudden death syndrome growing cause of soybean crop loss

University researchers have tracked the rise of sudden death syndrome (SDS) from relative obscurity to its current status as the second-leading cause of soybean crop losses due to disease in 2014.

The damage caused by SDS last year cost soybean growers more than 60 million bushels in lost yield, second only to the damage caused by the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) and nearly equal to the losses associated with general seedling diseases. When all three of these top soybean diseases are considered collectively, researchers found that they represented a yield loss of nearly 250 million bushels.

Fortunately, new tools are emerging for SDS management. In 2015, Bayer CropScience launched its new seed treatment, ILeVO, the first product of its kind to provide breakthrough protection for soybean seedlings against the fungus that causes SDS.

Most soybean seeds are treated with a base fungicide package, addressing SDS with a seed treatment.

Nonetheless, the growing importance of this disease is changing the way growers view SDS management. The severity of SDS is triggered by high moisture levels. A combination of cool, wet conditions in early spring will increase the likelihood of disease outbreak, especially since SDS is well-established throughout the U.S. soybean growing area.

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