Sudden death syndrome (SDS) has come into its own as a major disease in Illinois and across the Corn Belt. Its occurrence is usually associated with early planting and wet and compacted soils that remain saturated during emergence. The only solutions have been to delay planting till later in May, plant when soil conditions are drier and warmer and plant a variety that tolerates SDS.

The increase in SDS outbreaks in the past decade has been frustrating to farmers because the problem is getting worse and there have been no real effective solutions available. And you can’t rotate out of the problem by planting to corn for a couple years.

But that is changing. Industry is looking for novel solutions while soybean breeders are developing better resistance to this soil borne pathogen. In 2015 Bayer CropScience is commercializing ILeVO, a seed treatment that can control SDS.

Mike McCarville, Seed Growth Tech Service Rep with Bayer CropScience said ILeVO is a hard chemistry containing the active ingredient fluopyram. It is not a biological product like VOTiVO. “ILeVO is a unique chemistry in that it has both fungicide and nematicide properties and provides control of both SDS and SCN (Soybean Cyst Nematode). However, ILeVO is complimentary to VOTiVO and provides initial control of both SCN and SDS.”

SDS invades plant roots during emergence and infects the crown region of the soybean seedling. Conditions favorable for SDS include fields that have a high-yield environment, compacted soils, early-planted soybeans, and cool/wet soils at planting, as well as wet weather prior to and during flowering. The presence of soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is associated with SDS outbreaks.

McCarville explained that ILeVO controls nematodes immediately in the vicinity of the seed and then VOTiVO, a systemic product, kicks in and protects the roots. Controlling SCN helps reduce the risk of an SDS outbreak.

ILeVO can benefit yield. McCarville said, “We have measured a two-bushel increase in absence of foliar SDS symptoms and a 4- to 10-bushel increase in the presence of SDS. Growers need to consider that SDS, like SCN, doesn’t always show symptoms, but still can impact yield.

Bayer CropScience recommends treating seed with a 3-way fungicide, Poncho (insecticide) plus VOTiVO and ILeVO for control of SCN and SDS. ILeVO, like VOTiVO has a user-friendly toxicity level and can be applied at the local dealership just before planting. Bayer CropScience provides seed companies and seed dealership with application guidelines.

To learn more about ILeVO and its ability to control SDS sign up for the webinar, “Managing Sudden Death Syndrome in Soybeans with Proven Strategies and New Tools” presented by Jason Bond, plant pathologist at Southern Illinois University and Mike McCarville with Bayer CropScience. The webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, March 18 at 10 am CST.

Agronomist Dr. Daniel Davidson posts blogs on agronomy-related topics. Feel free to contact him at

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About the Author: Dan Davidson

Soybean agronomist Daniel Davidson, Ph.D., posts blogs on topics related to soybean agronomy. Feel free to contact him at or ring him at 402-649-5919.