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There are three main categories of soybean seedling diseases:
Figure 1. Pythium damping-off exhibiting a typical brownish water-soaked lesion on the hypocotyl and disintegrated secondary roots.
Seed rot (V0-VE growth stages):
Seedling mortality (damping-off or seedling blight) (VE-V4 growth stages):
Figure 2. Above ground damping-off symptoms in soybean. Photo courtesy of Daren Mueller, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org.
Root and lower stem decay (VE-V6 growth stages):
Figure 3. Characteristic reddish lesions on the stem of soybean plants infected with Rhizoctonia.
Diseases are difficult to control after they develop. Therefore, the most inexpensive, efficient, and effective disease control procedures are preventive. Remember, any factor that delays germination or seedling emergence provides increased opportunity for disease infection.
Management of soybean seedling diseases includes:
Identification of the specific pathogen that is causing the disease can help with management decisions for the following year and whether or not fungicide treated seed will be needed for a replant. Consider the following information for each field to help distinguish which pathogen is present:
For assistance determining if a disease is present and the specific pathogen that caused it, contact your state Plant Disease Clinic.
1 Esker, P. Common soybean seedling diseases. University of Wisconsin-Madison. 2 Yang, X.B. 2009. Scouting soybean seedling diseases. Iowa State University Extension. Integrated Crop Management News. 140225060137