Many growers across the country would gladly welcome a good rain when considering this year’s heat and drought conditions. But sometimes when it rains, it pours. Excessive rain paired with poor drainage can cause more than just floods – it also creates the ideal environment for Phytophthora root rot. Without preventive measures this disease can limit a field’s soybean yield potential significantly.

This soilborne fungal disease thrives in wet, warm soil conditions. Phytophthora root rot can strike at any time. Whether it’s early in the season causing damping-off or later with stem and root rot, yield potential can be significantly reduced in both instances. Symptoms become more noticeable when temperatures begin to rise. The best time to diagnose Phytophthora root rot is late summer. The University of Nebraska Extension says factors differentiating Phytophthora root rot from other diseases include the brown discoloration of the stem originating at the soil line, yellowing and wilting of the leaves and water soaked lesions.

When fields become saturated due to poor drainage or other factors, soybeans are more susceptible to Phytophthora root rot and can lose stand, vigor and yield. With another growing season fast approaching, growers should consider planting alternative varieties that can withstand harsh environmental stresses and protect against Phytophthora root rot.

“Phytophthora root rot is a fungus that can survive from season to season and cause significant damage if not treated properly,” said Doug Tigges, soybean product manager, Syngenta. “Syngenta offers a full portfolio of NK brand soybeans that have specific race resistance genes and field tolerance to Phytopthora root rot. These seeds provide exceptional tolerance and superior protection against this soilborne pathogen while consistently delivering excellent yield,” Tigges said. 

In addition to planting NK brand soybeans, provide them with both early-season insect control and disease protection by using CruiserMaxx Beans insecticide/fungicide, a combination of separately registered products, applied with Vibrance fungicide seed treatment.

As this growing season comes to a close, the drought will hopefully end and rain will be plentiful for the upcoming 2013 growing season. As you plan for next season, welcome the rain and prepare for it rather than becoming vulnerable to Phytophthora root rot.