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Disease, Pest Knowledge, Varieties Selection Set Stage for Higher Soybean Yields


Pioneer experts offer tips to help maximize seed performance

DES MOINES, Iowa. – The first step in building a defensive wall against soybean yield losses is to know as much as possible about the pest and disease pressures the crop faces – then select varieties with the right defensive package that can protect yield in the presence of those challenges. That’s according to a soybean research expert from Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business.

The best line of defense is to choose varieties that have high levels of protection against diseases or pests that impact a particular grower’s region. For example, growers in southern areas might want to evaluate scores for root-knot nematode. Growers in the North may want to check for scores against aphids.

“Compare trait scores for pests that most impact a particular area,” says Jeff Thompson, Pioneer soybean senior research manager in Mascoutah, Ill. “With good, sound management practices and choosing the right variety for their farms, growers can increase yields.

“No single variety will be the best choice on every acre. That’s why growers should choose the best package of varieties for his or her farm. In addition to minimizing risk, a combination of varieties can let growers take a step back and review what worked best.”

It is important for growers to know how to identify pests or diseases and to understand the life cycle, symptoms and possible extent of damage they can cause. Scouting is an important part of managing soybean pests and diseases.

“Growers need to know what they are up against,” Thompson says. “By building a knowledge base about key pests and diseases, growers can have a better idea of which traits are important when selecting varieties for the farm.”

It also helps to know which environments create the optimum conditions for certain diseases to occur.

There are things growers can do before the seed is in the ground. In addition to making sure fields have good drainage and avoiding compaction, Thompson suggests rotating crops and/or varieties. When managing diseases such as soybean cyst nematode (SCN), consider growing varieties with different sources of SCN resistance.

Pioneer research efforts are providing higher levels of tolerance to sudden death syndrome (SDS). Using Pioneer characterization ratings, a grower can view levels of resistance to specific diseases for each variety. The Pioneer rating system is based on a one to nine scale with nine being outstanding.

To provide growers with the latest information on soybean diseases and pests on a field-by-field basis, Pioneer has an extensive network of agronomists located throughout North America.

For additional information about soybean diseases, pests and management tips, click here or contact your local Pioneer sales professional.


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