Q&A with Daren Mueller Part 1: Forecast for SDS

Saturday, August 22, 2015
Foliar SDS Symptoms - Darren Mueller P1

As Sudden Death Syndrome advances to the number two top yield-robbing disease in soybeans, the pathogen poses an even greater threat to soybean production for the 2015 growing season. Growers experienced weather conditions conducive to the pathogen earlier in the season, setting the stage for a higher probability of a significant impact to soybean yields from SDS this year.


Soybean growers can gauge the impact that SDS will likely have on their crops before harvest by scouting their fields for the yield-robbing pathogen. Daren Mueller, SDS expert and extension plant pathologist at Iowa State University, provides a scouting report on SDS this growing season and highlights the benefits scouting can have on seasons to come.


Sudden Death Syndrome Questions
Describe your research specific to SDS.
I am currently working on several projects specific to SDS – mostly centered on management practices. Because tools are improving to identify and detect the pathogen in the roots and soil, we are studying how management practices will affect SDS and pathogen levels. The management practices we are focusing on include seed treatments, planting date, crop rotation, and management of soybean cyst nematode. We are also looking at how cover crops and herbicides may affect SDS.


What is your forecast for SDS this season? How is this different from last year? There are a few things we look at for predicting SDS –
  • Did people get their crops in early? Early planting increases the likelihood of conditions being good for root infection.
  • Was it a cool and wet spring? This improves conditions for root infection.
  • Heavy rainfall in June? Leandro et al had a paper showing June rainfall as being important.
  • Was there heavy rainfall during the reproductive growth stages? This increases toxin production and flushing to the foliage.


So far, the first three have come true – the last hurdle is all that is left. I do think we will have SDS this year. Where we get heavy rainfalls from here on out will determine where it is worse (assuming the inoculum is there).





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