Stop rhizoctonia in sugarbeets
Because Rhizoctonia is so threatening, Syngenta continues to put resources into the research and development of varieties with Rhizoctonia tolerance. Syngenta Sugarbeet Product Manager Tyler Ring said, “We are committed to keeping this disease at bay and are proud to say that our hybrids are currently number one in Rhizoctonia protection.”
Treat your crop twice
Because the Rhizoctonia trait kicks in later in the season, it’s crucial to protect the crop from the moment the seed hits the soil. Syngenta Agronomic Service Representative Jim Johnson of Michigan urges growers to use a seed treatment when planting.
“Choosing the right seed treatment is essential to preventing Rhizoctonia,” Johnson explained. “Our CruiserMaxx® Sugarbeets insecticide/fungicide seed treatment combines Cruiser insecticide with Maxim 4FS, Apron XL and Dynasty fungicides. These products work together to improve stand establishment, crop vigor and yield while protecting against Rhizoctonia and other diseases and insects.”
As the crop emerges in spring, scouting becomes essential. Neher cautioned, “If you see a lot of wilted plants in the field with dried up brown and black petioles around them, it is a really good indication that you have Rhizoctonia.”
To positively identify Rhizoctonia, Neher said, “Dig up those beets! It’s not a good idea to go with foliar indicators alone. Take a shovel and dig it up. Then take a knife and cut the beet in half to find the margin of healthy and diseased tissue of the beet.”
Research over the last 10 years from the Michigan State University Sugarbeet Advancement Program and Michigan Sugar Company has shown that Rhizoctonia can be effectively controlled with proper variety selection and optimum timing of an application of Quadris fungicide. In addition to effective disease control, Quadris also helps crops utilize resources like air, water and nutrients more efficiently.
“As sugarbeet growers, our concern is combating disease because it can take away from yield and it affects quality as well. I have always been a yield guy, so disease management is important to me. We have had the most problems with Rhizoctonia, and have used Quadris regularly to manage it,” Mahar shared. “It is important to focus on a continued research effort to control for Rhizoctonia.”
Neher warned that Rhizoctonia is not going away and growers need to embrace management practices to reduce the risk of infection. “Sadly, we are going to see an increase in this disease,” Neher stated. “Our crop rotation gets closer and closer with fewer non-host crops being planted on the same acres as sugarbeets. I tell my growers and crop consultants that they need to start keeping a log of fields with Rhizoctonia, so that when they come back to plant in that field, they can make a sound decision by using a tolerant variety and seed treatment. As a preventive measure, we also recommend a fungicide application at the 4 to 6 leaf stage to protect against the threat of Rhizoctonia.”
In other words, Neher said, “Be prepared for what is coming because we are not getting rid of Rhizoctonia.”