Herbicide resistance plagues soybean farmers across the growing region. But resistance isn’t limited to weeds. So to help farmers and retailers fight the next attack on profitability, the soy checkoff is being proactive.
The United Soybean Board (USB) recently announced the expansion of its Take Action program. In addition to combatting herbicide-resistant weeds, the program will now be tackling fungicide resistance in soybeans.
“Herbicide resistance is a significant issue farmers face in their fields,” says Carl Bradley, Extension plant pathologist at the University of Kentucky. “It’s possible that fungicide resistance is going down the same path. Now is our chance to get ahead of it before it gets too severe.”
Take Action, an industry-wide partnership spearheaded by the soy checkoff, advocates a diverse approach to weed management to avoid resistance. The program applies the same philosophy to disease management.
USB offers four steps retailers and farmers can use today to help preserve current technology and avoid resistance:
1. Scout fields regularly for diseases.
2. Understand disease thresholds.
3. Apply fungicides only when it makes economic sense.
4. Rotate fungicide modes of action.
“Many farmers may be of the mindset that a fungicide application will give a bit of a yield bump, even if diseases are not at economically damaging levels,” says Bradley. “But if they’re applying fungicides no matter what, they’re beginning to chip away at the tools they have to fight yield-damaging pathogen outbreaks. We want to encourage farmers to be mindful of what they’re using and when so they don’t lose what they have.”