managing white mold this year

Planting season 2019 will continue to have ramifications long past harvest. But one of its potential effects on soybeans is already underway, and that is the timing for white mold protection.  
The very-late planting window has set up a different development scenario for when to begin treatment against this insidious disease. The factors are all still there for problematic white mold outbreaks. Just later in the season, says Agtegra Agronomy Tech Service Manager Brad Ruden. “There’s going to be some risk for white mold because of the moist weather pattern,” he says. “But the risk will more than likely be delayed, until we get a canopy.”
Usually, the disease starts attacking soybeans as soon as flowering begins, and they fall off the plant. That is the mechanism point the soil-based pathogens use for entering plant tissue. Those spores tend to thrive under closed canopy/high humidity conditions. In the past, that flowering/canopy timing has been around R1. This year Ruden expects R2 staging and beyond to be the critical time for when this disease gets underway in area soybeans fields.
But don’t just wait and watch for it, says Ruden. You must pro-actively be ahead of it, for protection. “This is not like rust,” says Ruden. “With rust, you can see the disease, spray a very  effective fungicide product and literally stop it in its tracks. But if you wait until you see white mold develop in your beans, it is too late for effective treatment. At that point, the disease is already in the plant tissue, negating the potential efficacy from a treatment application.”
Work closely with your agronomist this year, says Ruden, for evaluating conditions which include the monitoring of crop canopy staging, past field history and best timing options for protection.
There are several very effective fungicides to optimize potential yield against white mold, along with a new one. Top-tier products include Endura® and ProPulse®. Syngenta has also introduced Miravis® Neo, which Ruden says, looks to have tremendous potential, according to research trial data. In the mid-tier level, Delaro® and Proline® can be excellent fits, depending on mold pressure. Next tier levels of Zolera® FX and Domark® can also be options.
“White mold is a major yield-dropping disease,” notes Ruden. “It’s not just what it does to the seeds but what it does to the plant. It eliminates any production on the plant above the point of infection.”
Looking ahead for future control, a multi-stepped approach can help producers in their fight against white mold yield loss. The disease produces tough survival structures called sclerotia, which remain alive in field soil for several seasons. That’s why longer crop rotations away from white mold susceptible crops may be a recommended approach, for fields with a history of heavy pressure. The selection of appropriate defensive soybean varieties is also integral to management.
This year, Agtegra offered the White Mold Protection System. The seed-applied product included Heads Up® seed treatment combined with a biostimulant package. The combination provides a Systemic Acquired Resistance (SAR) reaction, helping with white mold and other disease control, along with enhancing emergence.
But with the crop now up and growing well, it comes back to fungicide use. “Timeliness is always going to be key for white mold,” says Ruden. “Work with your agronomist to know when that white mold risk is developing in your area.” Additionally, Ruden notes there are some enhanced benefits to fungicides from a plant health point of view, beyond white mold protection. “There are some one-pass synergies of additional products we can use, that can further help protect crops against what I call those nibbler diseases.” Together, protection against a major disease like white mold and potentially smaller ones, fungicide can be a best management practice for improving bottom line yield in your soybean crop this year.             

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