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Soybean Sudden Death Syndrome Creeping into Central Kansas Fields

Soybean crop, south of Wamego, Kansas (File photo by J. Schafer)

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (The Hutch News) -- The Hutchinson News reports that sudden death syndrome in soybeans is likely hurting farmers in Central Kansas. As heavy rains continue, SDS is spreading beyond Pawnee County and the Kansas River Valley into Central Kansas.  “Historically, areas along the Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas rivers fare the worst,” said Doug Jardine, Ph.D., professor of plant pathology at Kansas State University. “Reno and Sedgwick counties are hotspots for SDS. I’d be surprised if SDS wasn’t showing up.”  Although Jardine is not seeing specific cases in both Reno and Sedgwick County, he said he expects the disease has hit the area.  “It’s a high likelihood that they are seeing SDS in the Arkansas River Valley,” said Jardine, who has worked at Kansas State since 1985.  SDS tends to hit hardest on well-managed fields with high yield potential. A soil-borne fungus causes this disease. Jardine said SDS also tends to be more prevalent in fields that are infested with soybean cyst nematode, compacted and planted early - when soils are cool and wet.  Although farmers in Reno County are not reporting SDS, they know there is always a chance for this fungus to hit their crops --- especially, if the area receives heavy rains before the early October harvest.  “Surprisingly, it hasn’t been a serious problem (for me) this year,” said Ron Jacques of Jacques Farms in Hutchinson. “But it still can occur.”  SDS starts as a small bright circular spot on the leaves during the early growth stages and late vegetative stages. As the disease advances, the spots turn brown and enlarge. They vary in shape. The veins remain green. When the leaves turn brown and drop, the petioles remain. This symptom is similar to brown rot and stem canker, which is also being reported in Kansas.


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