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BIOLOGICAL CONTROL: Flavio Medeiros, professor at the Federal University of Lavras in Brazil, recently discussed an alternative option for disease control that could reduce selection pressure of fungicides on diseases.

Talking biological control of soybean diseases

Down in the Weeds: Biological products may be a viable alternative for disease control in crops.

Editor's Note: You can listen to my conversation with Flavio Medeiros below.

It's been a wet year for many in the Midwest and Great Plains, and with wet conditions persisting across Nebraska and neighboring states, many are looking ahead to managing diseases in corn and soybean fields. Most often, this in-season control means applying a fungicide.

While not as prevalent as herbicide resistance, fungicide resistance is a growing problem in the U.S. — particularly for soybean growers in the Southeast.

At the recent Alltech ONE Conference in Lexington, Ky., Flavio Medeiros, professor at the Federal University of Lavras in Brazil, discussed an alternative option for disease control that could potentially reduce selection pressure of fungicides on diseases — biological control, often with different strains of fungi or bacteria.

Although disease control is entirely different in Brazil compared with the U.S., Medeiros notes there are some similarities when it comes to diseases affecting soybeans in both countries.

Of course, Brazil and the U.S. have different growing seasons — and for Brazil, the longer growing season, combined with heavy rainfall, presents additional disease pressure.

"We have a huge problem because the fungicides that are sprayed are very few. We have very few options, so we exert selection pressure," Medeiros says. "There are some alternatives in terms of combinations of fungicides to tackle this resistance pressure, but as a community, the university research centers and the private sector, we are considering alternatives in terms of biological control to cope with resistance management."

 

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