Preventing Seedling Diseases in Early Planted Soybeans

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One of the things to consider, as we’re planting earlier soybeans, is the possibility of seedling disease and seed rots. These are favored by cool, moist soils that are prevalent early in the season. To learn more from NC State Extension Specialist, Dr. Lindsey Thiessen, watch our 2-minute video:

Seedling diseases are characterized by lesions either on the roots or just at the base of the plants as they start to emerge out of the soil.

Field with diseased plants

Poor Stand Due to Seedling Disease

There’s a number of different fungi and oomycetes, that can cause seed and seedling disease issues. The biggest ones for us in North Carolina are rhizoctonia, fusarium, and pythium.

4 pictures of diseased seedlings

Commonly found pathogens in NC

Management options include improving soil drainage, planting whenever we have optimal growing conditions and in some cases using cover crops to help pull moisture out of the soil.

In our recent study, seed treatments were the most consistent treatment to improving stand and were most effective on early planted soybeans where we had those conducive conditions for seed rots.

Graph with fungicidal seed treatments positively affecting yield when compared to an unreated control in early planted soybeans in NC

Fungicidal Seed Treatments Protect Yield in Early Planted Soybeans in NC

More information about seed treatments can be found in the resources below. If you believe there might be a seedling disease or seed rot issue on your farm contract your County agent as soon as possible.

Additional Resources:

Soybean Seedling Diseases Fact Sheet

NC Plant Disease and Insect Clinic (PDIC)

NC Soybean Variety Selection