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Research Highlights

Research Highlights
Estimates of Soybean Yield Losses Due to Diseases in the United States

By Carl Bradley, University of Kentucky; and Tom Allen, Mississippi State University

Numerous diseases reduce soybean yields, and since 1996, this $10,000 project has provided an annual estimate of soybean yield losses caused by diseases. Soybean pathologists from public universities and governmental agencies estimate the percent yield losses caused by a key set of specific soybean diseases each year. In 2018, estimates from 13 northern states and 16 southern states were received. 

In 2018, the total estimated soybean yield loss due to diseases was over 536 million bushels, the highest in the last five years. The top three diseases overall were soybean cyst nematode, Phomopsis seed decay and frogeye leaf spot. The top three diseases were the same for the northern states but differed from the southern states, where Phomopsis seed decay, soybean cyst nematode and root-knot nematode were the top-three diseases. 

The estimates are published annually as a scientific paper and extension brief. New this year is an easy-to-use online tool. This tool is available at https://loss.cropprotectionnetwork.org/crops/soybeans and currently contains 21 years of data. 

These annual estimates of soybean yield losses allow the prioritization of development of new soybean varieties and tools, as well as regionally specific educational materials, to more effectively manage the most destructive diseases. 

Figure 1. Estimated losses (bushels) of soybean yield as a result of plant diseases in the United States from 2014 to 2018.

To find research related to this Research Highlight, please visit the National Soybean Checkoff Research Database.