Root rots plague Illinois soybeans

Diagnostic tests have confirmed root rotting diseases are causing the death of soybean plants across Illinois.

Agronomist Stephanie Porter with the Illinois Soybean Association tells Brownfield a color change in soybeans a couple weeks ago prompted farmers and agronomists to submit diagnostic samples.

“One of the main root rots that we’ve been finding is phytophthora root rot, which is nothing new, but we’re just seeing a lot of it and it being much more destructive this year. And then we’re also finding a new disease called Red Crown Rot across the state as well.”

Porter says phytophthora has also been confirmed in northern Missouri as well parts of Iowa, Indiana and Ohio this season.  

She says most effected fields are compacted, in heavy clay or low-lying areas where plants likely sat in water following heavy rains.  

Porter says any early season seed treatments have already worn off and unfortunately, there’s nothing farmers can do to treat or manage root rots at this point in the season. But there are options to consider for the next time those fields are planted to soybeans.

“Maybe pay more attention to the seed variety that they pick and make sure that they have good resistance and implement better drainage systems in the field.”

She says ISA is working with local plant pathologists to collect more samples and identify if phytophthora is developing resistance to current management platforms.

Audio: Interview with Stephanie Porter

*Photo of phytophthora root rot by Stephanie Porter

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