Following the 2014 growing season, many soybean growers found themselves asking how to better manage white mold. One thing that needs to be addressed up front is that relying solely on soybean variety selection is not a good idea and can lead to disappointment in some cases. It is an option, but there are additional general management practices that can help ensure success in managing the disease:
- Canopy management – If you have history of white mold in a field that is being planted with soybeans this year, consider using rows wider than 15 inches. Also, try to select a variety that is more slender in growth pattern, which will help to prevent the dense canopy and lodging that is usually associated with white mold. Narrow rows in soybeans provide extra yield potential, so going back to 30-inch rows should only be done on a field-by-field basis where the need arises.
- Crop rotation – If white mold pressure is expected to be heavy in your area, consider rotating to other crops such as corn, small grains and forage legumes to help reduce the number of sclerotia.
- Weed control – Many broadleaf weeds are hosts for the white mold pathogen. Keeping these weeds under control will help to prevent further enhancing the sclerotia population.
- Tillage – There is data that suggests that leaving sclerotianear the soil surface helps to control the population. Even just 8-10 inches below the ground, the fungi maintain their viability, so consider reducing your tilling or adapting a no-till strategy in areas with high white mold pressure.
For more information on white mold management, check out this document from the North Central Soybean Research Program or contact your local Syngenta representative.
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This article originally appeared in Syngenta’s Know More, Grow More agronomy blog, and has been reposted with permission.