Plan ahead when making plant disease management decisions
"Examples here may include Phytophthora root rot or soybean cyst nematode (SCN). A cultivar previously resistant to SCN that yields less than expected and an increased SCN egg load in the soil may indicate the presence of a SCN population that has overcome this resistance source. Change in the cultivar to be planted would therefore be necessary," he said.
Another strategy to reduce the chances of plant disease development is exclusion.
"That is, do not introduce the pathogen to the field - keep it out."
This can be done, Byamukama explained, by using clean seed, clean equipment and starting with a clean seedbed. If the pathogen cannot be avoided, the next tools available would be to minimize its impact on crop production.
"Most of the economically important pathogens that infect corn, soybean, and wheat, apart from rust, nematode, and virus diseases, are residue-borne and therefore cannot be avoided or excluded from the field," he said. "This is when cultural practices like crop rotation, residue management through tillage, and time of planting become effective in limiting the negative impacts of plant diseases."
Integrated Disease Management
The use of an integrated disease management approach is encouraged by SDSU Extension Plant Pathologist Emmanuel Byamukama.
Integrated disease management consists of combining several plant disease management strategies such as the use of resistant cultivars, crop rotation, field residue management, altering time of planting and applying pesticides only when warranted - through scouting.
"Not only is an integrated approach effective and economical, but it is also sustainable," Bymukama said.
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