If your current forecast calls for a wet spring with wet conditions at planting, University of Nebraska plant pathologist Loren Giesler says soybean seed treatment fungicides may be a good idea in 2010, especially for early planting dates.

Pythium and Phytophthora are two very common seedling diseases affecting soybeans, Giesler says Of the two soybean diseases favored by wet conditions, pythium is the most common and is sometimes referred to as “white mold.”

The problem with managing any seedling disease is that you need to select the appropriate fungicide treatment before you put the seed in the ground. Giesler says you should consider the following factors and if you have any of these conditions, use a seed treatment fungicide for your soybeans.

Field History of Seedling/Emergence Problems. Ideally, you have identified the disease and can match the correct treatment. If not, use a good combination product, Giesler says.

Early planting. If you’re considering early planting, fungicide seed treatments are a necessity, he adds. Cool, wet soils are conducive to the development of poor stands. No-till fields will have cool soils later in the season than fields receiving some tillage. These will more commonly have seedling disease problems.

Phytophthora History. Fields with a history of Phytophthora will need additional metalaxyl or mefenoxam treatment. Even with resistant varieties, Giesler recommends treating for Phytophthora, which will favor Pythium.

"Most seed companies offer a standard treatment, but in many instances this will not be sufficient for a field with Phytophthora," Giesler warns. "Based on your field history, if you know the disease you are trying to control, check with your seed salesman to ensure that you have a good match in your fungicide."


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