Sudden death syndrome and Palmer amaranth discussed at pest management meetings in January

Field crops pest management meetings provide growers with opportunities to learn more about controlling soybean SDS and glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth, along with other weed, insect and disease control recommendations.

Soybean sudden death syndrome (SDS) is a fungal pathogen of soybeans that was first confirmed in southwest Michigan’s Monroe County in 2009. Since that time, it has been identified in fields throughout most of the major soybean producing areas in Michigan. The soil-borne disease tends to accumulate and intensify in fields once it gains a foothold. Crop rotation does not reduce the incidence of the disease because the causal pathogen can survive on the residues of corn and other crops. A familiar pattern has developed. The more disease pressure you have in the field, the earlier that leaf symptoms become visible on susceptible varieties and the higher the level of yield loss.

Many new fields showed late season symptoms of SDS prior to leaf drop in southwest Michigan in the fall of 2011. Michigan State University research conducted at a heavily infected site in southwest Michigan provided researchers with an opportunity to test sources of resistance and to isolate breeding lines that show excellent ability to avoid damage from the SDS pathogen. Varietal selection is critical in controlling yield losses in heavily SDS-infected fields.

Glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth is an aggressive weed species that was first found in Michigan in 2010. The weed has been found in several fields in St. Joseph County. This member of the pigweed family can grow to heights of greater than 7 feet and is capable of producing 400,000 or more seeds per plant. Research conducted in 2011 showed that the weed is very tough – and expensive – to control. Early identification can be the key to keep the pest from gaining a foothold on your farm.

Both of these challenges, plus ways to prevent the spread of pests and pathogens on your farm, will be discussed at MSU Extension’s Winter Field Crops Pest Management Update Series. This year’s programs will be held:

January 17, Ottawa Fillmore Administration Building
12220 Fillmore St., West Olive, Mich. (see map)
Van Buren County MSUE
, 269-657-8213, to register

January 30, Shifter’s Restaurant
3130 W. Monroe St., Alma, Mich. (see map)
Gratiot County MSUE
, 989-875-5233, to register

January 31, Hillman Free Methodist Church
331 W. 3rd Street, Hillman, Mich. (see map)
Isabella County MSUE
, 989-772-0911 ext. 302, to register

February 1, Monsanto Demonstration and Research Farm
474 S. Onondaga Road, Mason, Mich. (see map)
Ingham County MSUE
, 517-676-7207, to register

These programs are designed to help producers to learn new twists on controlling traditional and new pests in Michigan, highlighting changes in MSU Extension recommendations in field crop weed, insect and disease control and soil fertility recommendations for the 2012 growing season. This year’s program will also present new research information on how to manage two newer pest management challenges in Michigan: glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth and SDS. It is also the best chance to ask your most challenging questions of the year to our specialists. Speakers include Extension specialists Christy Sprague, Chris DiFonzo, Kurt Steinke, Martin Chilvers, George Bird, Martin Nagelkirk, Mike Staton and others.

The program will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:10 p.m. The registration fee is $40 per person, which includes the cost of lunch, refreshments and the MSUE Bulletin E-434 2012 Weed Control Guide for Field Crops and Forages. Five RUP Credits (Private and Category 1A) and CCA Credits have been applied for and are pending approval. We hope to see you there.

You can download a PDF version of the program flier and registration form at or you can contact the Van Buren County MSU Extension office at 269-657-8213 for more information about each of these programs. To register, you can contact the respective office listed below the date and location at the top of this article.

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