WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Soybeans, Maturing or Infected?

Sep 20, 2013

Fall is progressing and soybeans are turning from their summer green to yellow and then brown. This could be because they are mature or because they are diseased.

Soybeans naturally do turn yellow and die at this time of year, but they could also being dying of disease. Angie Peltier, with the University of Illinois Extension office in Monmouth, said it’s important to know if  disease is to blame, and which one, so farmers can plan for the future.

Though figuring that out isn't always easy.

Up close symptoms of Sudden Death Syndrome, a fungal disease, are clear.
Credit Daren Mueller, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org

"We have a very limited window to find out what might be infecting, and which pathogens might be causing problems in our soybeans," Peltier said.

She said a fungal disease called Sudden Death Syndrome can stay in the soil and infect future crops if farmers do not take precautions.

Shes said this year has seen more cases of Sudden Death Syndrome because of the cold wet spring.

SDS isn't the only disease that could mimic the natural maturing process. A list of other diseases and management practices can be found at Peltier's Hill and Furrow blog.