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Conditions Could Be Right for White Mold in Soybeans

Conditions Could Be Right for White Mold in Soybeans
Agronomists recommend scouting now and being ready to treat if necessary.

The cool, wet weather patterns that set up over most of Indiana through mid-July set the stage for certain diseases. Agronomists advise scouting and being ready to take action, if necessary.

The most likely soybean disease to cause problems could be white mold. What happens will depend upon the rest of the season.

Brian Mitchem, agronomist for DuPont in northeast Indiana, says this season offers the highest potential for white mold since 2009. The situation was set up in 2013, but a long dry period snuffed out the disease.

Related: Why Can't Soybeans Reach Corn-like Yields?

Recognize white mold: Look for cottony, white growth and small, black bodies outside and inside the stem once it is full blown. (Photo courtesy Kiersten Wise, Purdue University Extension plant pathologist)

The disease infects plants as flowers die, Mitchem says. Depending upon when you planted, it may be getting late for a fungicide application. However, he still advises scouting. It may not be too late in many later-planted fields if you're out checking now.

White mold tends to be more prevalent in northern Indiana, but can appear elsewhere. It's often most severe in narrow-row soybeans at high populations. Limited air movement favors the disease.

Only a handful of fungicides are active against it, and only if sprayed at the right time. In DuPont's line-up the fungicide with activity on white mold is Aproach, he says. That's right, there is only one 'p' in the name. Mitchem says the reason you see unusual names or misspellings is to get new products through the trademark process.

Related: White Mold Threat Could Become a Reality in 2014

Other companies, including Bayer, also have products with activity against white mold. Consult with your retailer after scouting fields for choice of products and timing of applications.

In irrigated fields in northern Indiana, Mitchem says a two-application system with applications 10 days apart may be necessary. In central to north-central Indiana on non-irrigated fields where white mold pressure typically isn't as high, one pass may work. It all depends upon the disease pressure.

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