Submitted to: Illinois Soybean Program Operating Board
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/10/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: When it comes to selecting soybean seed, the wrong bet can be deadly. Chances are you have already learned this the hard way, perhaps through a soybean sudden death syndrome (SDS) epidemic on your farm. Because the pathogen causing SDS is present in many of our fields, the odds of an outbreak are high. Still, selecting the best variety for your farm can help you take control and stop rolling the dice against SDS. SDS is caused by a strain of fungus called Fusarium solani f. sp. glycines. For SDS to infect your crop, the fungus must first be present in your soil. In the past, the fungus was most readily found in soils in southern and east central Illinois. However, a 1998 field survey conducted by the University of Illinois (U of I) and Southern Illinois University (SIU) showed evidence of the disease throughout the state. The bottom line: if you've seen the disease in your fields before, the fungus is still there waiting to pounce. Second, SDS lays in wait of certain environmental conditions. It is most likely to strike when cool, moist conditions occur during the early part of the growing season and, in particular, when moist conditions occur again during early flowering. If your farm has a SDS problem, researchers say planting a SDS-resistant variety is your best disease defense. A resistant variety contains some genes which protect the plant from SDS. If a plant with resistance becomes infected, it will show some symptoms of the disease but may still yield well. To help you select a resistant variety, checkoff-funded researchers at SIU and U of I conducted field tests of about 350 varieties and lines in 1998.