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Identifying Red Crown Rot in Soybeans: What Growers Need to Know
Illinois Ag Connection - 05/29/2023

Red crown rot, a disease posing a threat to soybean crops, has recently gained attention among growers. To effectively combat this destructive disease, it is crucial to accurately identify its symptoms and implement appropriate management strategies. A comprehensive understanding of red crown rot can help protect soybean yields and minimize potential losses.

The pathogen responsible for red crown rot thrives on legumes, ornamental species, and certain native plants. Initially identified in Southern states as a peanut and occasional soybean disease, its emergence in the Midwest has raised concerns. Accurate diagnosis is critical, as red crown rot is often misidentified as sudden death syndrome (SDS), making it essential to differentiate between the two diseases.

Symptoms of red crown rot typically appear within the first month of a soybean plant's life. These include interveinal chlorosis, a discoloration between leaf veins, which becomes visible after pod set. Cryptic infections may occur, making detection challenging. Notably, the presence of brick-red spheres near the stem base is a distinguishing characteristic of red crown rot.

To manage red crown rot effectively, preventive measures such as crop rotation, early planting, and the use of appropriate seed treatments are recommended. However, the availability of fungicides specifically targeting red crown rot remains limited, with ongoing research aimed at developing effective management strategies.

By familiarizing themselves with the symptoms and implementing proactive measures, soybean growers can mitigate the impact of red crown rot on their crops. Continued collaboration and research efforts will further enhance our understanding of this emerging disease, ensuring the long-term health and productivity of soybean fields.

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