White mold resources

A new online resource called WhiteMoldInfo.com is now available for soybean growers seeking timely information and disease prevention strategies to stay one step ahead of white mold this year.

Developed by MANA Crop Protection, growers can utilize this exclusive online resource and enroll for Soybean White Mold Weekly Updates by accessing URL address http://whitemoldinfo.com/, or by simply typing whitemoldinfo.com into their Internet browser.

Dave Feist, Project Development Leader for MANA Crop Protection, said the new online resource was created to deliver highly relevant information to soybean growers seeking disease management insight behind the complexities of white mold.

“Growers who have soybean in high alert areas for white mold are encouraged to utilize the information to gain an understanding of the disease’s profile and proliferation trends, ways to minimize spreading between fields, evaluate its economic impact on yields, and learn preventative approaches to minimize risk,” he said. “Also, growers can opt to receive a weekly email update which will give additional insights during the season, along with regional planting progress and outbreak reports.”

Growers who access the online resource and subscribe to Soybean White Mold Weekly Updates can expect to receive reports beginning in early May and continuing through June. Weekly reports from MANA Crop Protection will be sent to growers via email delivery.

Sam Markell, Extension Plant Pathologist at North Dakota State University (NDSU) in Fargo, raises a caution flag encouraging crop consultants and growers alike to evaluate potential losses from a white mold outbreak, especially in geographies hosting optimum conditions for the disease.

According to the researcher, no matter how exceptional a grower may be in managing diseases, white mold is an equal opportunity problem for every field in which it decides to harbor. Caused by a soil fungus called Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, white mold’s ability to rapidly develop is most influenced by prevailing weather and agronomic practices common to soybean production.

White mold typically shows up in early summer, around the time that soybean plants begin to bloom. The disease thrives in cool temperatures ranging between 59 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and moisture-rich soil conditions caused by heavy spring rains. Combined with a dense crop canopy that can stay moist until late morning, Markell said the environment can become “a perfect storm” for the disease to infect throughout a field.

Markell adds that the 2009 white mold epidemic was an eye-opening experience for many and with a repeat of high disease pressure in 2010 — he believes the disease should be on every grower’s radar. He continues by saying that there is still plenty of white mold inoculum in the soil, making it necessary to take precautions to minimize the disease risk in 2012.

While Markell raises a flag of caution to potential 2012 outbreaks, Feist reminds growers that management practices including the use of disease-resistant varieties, crop rotation, expanded use of tillage, and adoption of selective inputs like Incognito fungicide, all aid in minimizing a white mold problem.

“There is no single factor that will prevent white mold from developing. Therefore, relying on a preventative approach to get ahead of the problem is the best defense strategy,” Feist said. “Plus, educational resources like WhiteMoldInfo.com provide growers with sound advice for improved disease management success.”

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