SAN ANTONIO — Herbicide resistance plagues soybean farmers across the growing region. But resistance isn’t limited to weeds. So to help farmers fight the next attack on their profitability, the soy checkoff is being proactive.
The United Soybean Board (USB) recently announced the expansion of its Take Action program. In addition to combatting herbicide-resistant weeds, the program will now be tackling fungicide resistance in soybeans.
“Herbicide resistance is a significant issue farmers face in their fields,” says Carl Bradley, Ph.D., extension plant pathologist at the University of Kentucky. “It’s possible that fungicide resistance is going down the same path. Now is our chance to get ahead of it before it gets too severe.”
Take Action, an industry-wide partnership spearheaded by the soy checkoff, advocates a diverse approach to weed management to avoid resistance. The program applies the same philosophy to disease management.
“To stay ahead of fungicide resistance, we can’t cut corners,” says Gregg Fujan, a checkoff farmer-leader from Nebraska. “We believe a well-rounded method of pest management is needed to preserve existing technology and protect farmers’ long-term profitability.”
If not addressed soon, farmers risk losing the few fungicides they have available now.
“If we lose the tools we have, there’s a financial risk of having diseases we can no longer control,” says Fujan.
At a recent press conference, Fujan called out four steps farmers can use today to help preserve current technology and avoid resistance:
1. Scout fields regularly for diseases.
2. Understand disease thresholds.
3. Apply fungicides only when it makes economic sense.
4. Rotate fungicide modes of action.
“Many farmers may be of the mindset that a fungicide application will give a bit of a yield bump, even if diseases are not at economically damaging levels,” says Bradley. “But if they’re applying fungicides no matter what, they’re beginning to chip away at the tools they have to fight yield-damaging pathogen outbreaks. We want to encourage farmers to be mindful of what they’re using and when so they don’t lose what they have.”
USB’s 73 farmer-directors work on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers to achieve maximum value for their soy checkoff investments. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds in programs and partnerships to drive soybean innovation beyond the bushel and increase preference for U.S. soy. That preference is based on U.S. soybean meal and oil quality and the sustainability of U.S. soybean farmers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.
For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit www.unitedsoybean.org
Visit us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/unitedsoy
View our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/
—United Soybean Board
For more articles concerning row crops, click here.