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Battling white mold - understanding the soybean crop menace
Ohio Ag Connection - 02/09/2024

In 2023, while some regions saw favorable weather for soybean yields, others faced challenges due to the prevalence of white mold. Dr. Horacio Lopez-Nicora and Dr. Wade Webster shared valuable insights into combating this soybean crop menace.

White mold, caused by a fungal pathogen, grows in humid conditions, particularly during soybean flowering. It relies on a trifecta of factors: a conducive environment, a toxic pathogen, and susceptible soybean hosts.

The development of white mold is closely tied to weather conditions, with moisture and cool temperatures during flowering providing an optimal breeding ground. Once infection takes hold, it manifests in various symptoms, including the growth of white fungal masses on stems and a reduction in grain fill.

The white mold pathogen can persist in soil for up to a decade in the form of sclerocia, which releases spores infecting flowers during soybean growth stages. Understanding its life cycle and symptomatology is essential for effective management.

Collaborative initiatives spearheaded by experts like Lee Beeres, alongside research institutions, offer valuable insights into white mold development and proactive strategies for farmers to mitigate its impact.

By staying informed and implementing preventative measures, farmers can safeguard their soybean crops against this persistent threat.

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