Farm Progress

Sporecaster helps conclude when white mold apothecia is present in soybeans.

June 4, 2018

2 Min Read
DETERMINE RISK: With Sporecaster, producers can create multiple fields to determine white mold apothecial risk.fotokostic/Getty images

Fungicides for soybean white mold management should be applied at or between R1 (beginning flowering) and R3 (beginning pod development). According to Michigan State University, later or earlier applications within this window can improve disease management. This variation in responses to fungicide timing from year to year is driven by the presence of apothecia.

The smartphone app Sporecaster is designed to predict the presence of white mold apothecial. Fields still need to be scouted to determine if the soybean crop meets thresholds, such as canopy closure and reproductive stages.

The app allows the user to locate and set up multiple fields to run the apothecial risk prediction model using weather data from a third-party provider, Dark Sky API.

Once opened, producers can create multiple fields to determine apothecial risk. The app will prompt the user for information, such as field name, row spacing, irrigation and the field location. Then the risk of apothecial presence can be calculated.

The model will only run if it is told that flowers are present and if canopy closure meets threshold (for 30-inch row spacing only). A forecast risk expressed in percentage units is then shown, with red being above the 40% action threshold for a fungicide application. It is possible to rerun the model as desired and even go back to previous years to examine previous risk.

The model has been validated in commercial fields and small test plots in Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa. The model could facilitate fungicide application decisions and lead to greater disease management. Researchers are hopeful the app can be modified and applied for use in other white mold-susceptible crops, such as dry beans and potatoes.

The app is available for download on both iPhone and Android devices. For more information on the app and video tutorials, see “New smartphone app: Sporecaster, The Soybean White Mold Forecaster” from the University of Wisconsin.

Source: MSU Extension

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