Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS)
First Identified more than 40 years ago in Arkansas, SDS is the second leading cause of soybean yield loss to disease. Only losses to Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) are greater, and SDS losses are nearly equal to those from general seedling diseases. SDS has now been documented in almost every state where soybeans are grown.
As SDS Has Spread, So Has Its Impact
University researchers have tracked its rise during the last four decades. According to statistics from the University of Illinois*, roughly 3.7 million bushels were lost to SDS in 1996, compared with 43.8 million bushels in 2015.** SDS yield loss averaged 31.5 million bushels per year during that time period. In the last five years’ alone, that average has increased to 43 million bushels per year. Losses to SDS can range from 20 percent of a crop to more than 70 percent.
The Economic Tally Is High
From 1996 to 2015, SDS accounted for $5 billion† in losses or $265.3 million per year. And just the last five years’ losses totaled $2.5 billion, or $500 million per year.
An Early-Season Challenge
SDS is highly destructive because it strips soybeans of their production potential. The disease is caused by Fusarium viguliforme, a fungus that spreads through soil movement from field to field. The fungus can survive and overwinter in crop residue.
Once in a field, it stays there. SDS severity is triggered by high moisture. A combination of cool, wet conditions in early spring can increase the likelihood of disease outbreaks, especially since SDS is well-established in U.S. soybean states.
Initial infections of SDS occur on the roots and crowns of seedlings, which results in Fusarium root rot and impacts early-season seedling-health. More moisture in the soil for longer periods of time enables the SDS pathogen to penetrate the soybean plant through the root system and puts stress on the plant. At flowering, the SDS fungus produces toxins that cause foliar destruction, including leaf drop, aborted pods and, ultimately, yield loss.
Management of SDS
ILeVO® seed treatment from Bayer is the only solution for SDS that also provides activity against nematodes, including SCN, in the seed zone. ILeVO protects seeds from the moment they're planted, so they can be planted earlier in the season with less risk of SDS and SCN damage. On average, growers are seeing a 2 to 10 bushel-per-acre yield advantage when adding ILeVO to their current seed treatment package.
*“ Estimates of Soybean Yield Reductions Caused by Diseases in the United States,” United Soybean Board, http://extension.cropsciences.illinois.edu/_ eldcrops/diseases/yield_reductions.php.
**According to a soybean disease loss estimate study funded by the United Soybean Board.
† 2015 soybean price from USDA estimate in http://cornandsoybeandigest.com/blog/corn-soybeanprices-show-strength-following-usda-reports