Staying on top of all the latest ag technology, field data and research can be overwhelming. That’s why the Soybean Research & Information Initiative, formerly the Plant Health Initiative, continually provides you with access to expert information and news about soybean pests, diseases, and agronomics. The aim of this check off-funded website is to communicate the on-going progress and current understanding coming from your active and wide-ranging U.S. soybean research programs. Please visit often!


Wed, Aug 16, 2017
Charcoal Rot: A Hidden Threat to Soybean Yield
The persistent hot weather in many areas of the country this growing season may be conducive to the development of charcoal rot disease in soybean.

Farmers, agronomists, crop consultants and specialists are encouraged to scout for this particular disease now. Although charcoal rot is most severe in years and areas experiencing hot, dry weather, this disease can also cause losses when ample moisture is present, making it a hidden threat to yield.   Read more...
Tue, July 18, 2017
Update on Breeding for Soybean Aphid Resistance
by Brian Diers, Soybean Breeder, University of Illinois

The soybean aphid can be controlled by Rag genes (Resistance to Aphis glycine) which have been introgressed into soybean lines adapted to Midwestern growing conditions.

Our soybean breeding program continues to develop and release soybean varieties with different combinations of Rag genes conferring aphid resistance. The University of Illinois has commercialized four soybean varieties with Rag2, one variety with Rag1, and one variety with Rag1 and Rag2 combined.   Read more...
Thu, June 15, 2017
Biology and Economics of Recommendations for Insecticide-Based Management of Soybean Aphid
By Robert Koch, Field Crop Entomologist, University of Minnesota

We conducted a review of what is known about soybean aphid — in particular, the potential effects on yield and cost-effective management for this pest.

We found that although crop and input prices have changed since the establishment of an economic threshold (ET) of 250 aphids per plant, no consistent economic gain can be found with a reduced ET for soybean aphid. This is because the ET is already set well below the aphid population level that can cause measurable yield loss.   Read more...
Fri, June 9, 2017
Basic Research into the Pathogenicity of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum Leads to a Promising Target for Host Resistance
by Mehdi Kabbage and Damon L. Smith, Soybean Plant Pathologists, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Sclerotinia stem rot (SSR), also known as white mold of soybean, can be a significant yield-limiting disease in the north-central United States. The fungal pathogen, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is one of the most successful of all plant pathogens — with an ability to infect over 350 plant species.

We have made some significant progress in our understanding of how this pathogen is able to hijack plant defenses and cause disease — and in this process have revealed promising genetic targets for durable host resistance.   Read more...
Mon, May 22, 2017
New Study Confirms that IPM is a Better Pest Management Investment for Soybean Aphid than Seed Treatment
by Christian Krupke, Soybean Entomologist, Purdue University

A large, multi-state study confirmed that by the V2 stage, tissue concentrations of thiamethoxam, the neonicotinoid insecticide applied as a coating to soybean seeds, were statistically similar to plants grown from untreated seeds.

We also found that even during aphid infestations, the neonicotinoid seed treatment produced the same yields as using no insecticide at all. The IPM treatment, combining scouting and foliar-applied insecticide where necessary, resulted in significant yield increases.

The relevance of this information for soybean producers is that an IPM approach remains a better pest management investment for the soybean aphid in the north-central region, both in terms of protecting the yield potential of the crop, and in terms of break-even probability for producers.   Read more...
Mon, May 8, 2017
Development of a Predictive Model to Assess the Risk of Sclerotinia Stem Rot in Soybeans.
by Mehdi Kabbage and Damon Smith, Soybean Plant Pathologists, University of Wisconsin

Soybean flowering, apothecia formation, and conducive weather conditions must occur simultaneously for sclerotinia stem rot (white mold) to occur. It is difficult for farmers to assess these factors during the season, and fungicide applications are often ineffective due to poor timing. Fungicide applications might also be unnecessary if the required environmental factors do not converge.

We have made progress on a predictive model to assess the risk of disease development in soybeans. The goal is to help farmers decrease unnecessary fungicide input in low-risk environments and to optimize the timing of application of fungicides in high-risk environments.   Read more...
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