URBANA, Ill. — The idea that soil-borne diseases can significantly, and frequently, reduce soybean yields is news to nobody. Diseases such as pythium, SDS, and rhizoctonia routinely rob soybean yields by as much as 15% but are difficult to control. Extended winters and cool, wet spring conditions are known to increase disease prevalence and yield loss. Do these conditions sound familiar?
The combination of cool, wet springs coupled with successively earlier planting dates favor pathogen infection and limit the control options producers have. Infection of these pathogens occur early in the growing season even though the impact is not often observed until much later. To make problems worse, recovery treatments are often not a cost-effective option at this point as disease development has already done the damage.
Researchers and producers have been aware of these issues for years and have been working to find cost-effective methods to reduce their impact. Despite the development of traits and seed treatments to battle these diseases, responses to these products are quite variable. Additionally, as the trend for extended winters and cool springs continue, researchers are looking to mitigate these effects to give producers some preventative options. This is where Dr. Nathan Kleczewski, University of Illinois Extension Plant Pathologist, comes in.
Over the next few years Dr. Kleczewski will be conducting several statewide experiments to assess the efficacy of various seed treatments and cover crops in preventing incidence and severity of these yield-robbing diseases. These studies aim to establish a tangible baseline which will guide future recommendations for producers to combat these diseases.
Dr. Kleczewski is working with Extension staff across the state and is looking for producers in Northwest Illinois who may want to collaborate on these studies in 2019; collaborators will be compensated for their involvement and will provide insight into production issues in this area. Interested parties may contact Phillip Alberti, University of Illinois Extension Crop Science Educator, at 815-235-4125 or firstname.lastname@example.org to hear more about this research or to determine if they are suited for involvement in this project.
— University of Illinois Extension
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