Soybean sudden death syndrome symptoms beginning to develop in Ingham County

Scout for this disease now as symptoms show up at the reproductive stage. Foliar fungicides are not effective, but here are considerations for future soybean planting.

Soybean plants in Ingham County, Michigan, infected with the fungal pathogen Fusarium virguliforme are beginning to show symptoms of soybean sudden death syndrome. Fields should be scouted for this disease over the next couple of weeks as plants begin to mature. Although plants may be infected for the entire season, it is not until reproductive growth stages that plants typically exhibit sudden death syndrome symptoms. Symptoms include diffuse chlorotic spots that progress to interveinal chlorosis and necrosis, and premature leaf drop (see photos below).

SDS symptoms 

SDS symptoms

Foliar fungicides are not effective against this disease. However, there are several management considerations to make for future planting.

  • Prevent sudden death syndrome-contaminated soil from reaching your property with proper sanitation measures.

  • Use soybean varieties with partial resistance (tolerance) to sudden death syndrome.

  • Manage soybean cyst nematodes, which can exacerbate the disease.

  • Improve drainage as poor draining fields are more likely to develop sudden death syndrome.

  • Improve soil structure and prevent compaction, which can also worsen sudden death syndrome.

Soybean sudden death syndrome is here to stay in Michigan. As in other northern states such as Wisconsin and Minnesota, it appears to be moving north and becoming more frequent. It is important to identify if your fields have this disease in order to manage any potential yield loss. The following map demonstrates counties in which we have positively identified sudden death syndrome.

Confirmed SDS in Michigan 

If you would like to have a plant sample positively identified for sudden death syndrome, samples can be submitted free of charge to the following address. Please include contact information and sample location.

Martin Chilvers
Department of Plant Pathology
35c Plant Biology Bldg
178 Wilson Road
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824

For more information on sudden death syndrome disease, identification and management, read the MSU Extension News for Agriculture articles, Soybean sudden death syndrome (SDS) – Fusarium virguliforme and Sudden death syndrome beginning to show symptoms in southwest Michigan soybean fields.  

You can also visit the MSU Field Crop Pathology website, or contact MSU Extension field crops pathology educator Bruce Mackellar at 269-657-8213, or MSU field crops pathologist Martin Chilvers at 517-898-3049.

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