One of the most common questions right now, according to Kevin Carlson, Federated's senior agronomist, is what to do about white mold.
"The conditions were pretty good for white mold to develop this year - cool and wet," said Carlson. "That's the environment white mold needs," he added. The white mold is coming on late, but the soybean crop is a little bit behind. Normally, the beans are getting close to finishing now, but they aren't yet this year.
"White mold is going to take some yield," said Carlson, because once it's in the field, it's very difficult to manage - and it isn't possible to get rid of it for this season's crop.
Carlson said Federated agronomists have seen varying levels of white mold progression in fields across Federated's service area, but it's important to identify fields that have it.
Management practices can help control white mold, as challenging as it is.
First, pick varieties that are tolerant to white mold. "This is a critical first step," said Carlson, even as growers choose next year's varieties.
Second, plant soybeans with wider rows and slightly lower populations to reduce the canopy. (But then pay attention to weed issues that can arise because of the reduced canopy - "it's a balancing act,"said Carlson.)
Third, consider preventative fungicide applications (at the time of flowering) to help reduce the incidence of white mold. (However, the fungicides "are not a silver bullet," Carlson noted.)
Carlson also recommended a fourth management tool: Spray Contans WG, an older biological product, in the fall. Contans WG controls the white mold sclerotia in the soil as it germinates (see Contans WG fact sheet ).
And finally, continue to rotate crops. This is an important management practice that doesn't eliminate the incidence of white mold, but it can help.
Talk to your Federated Agronomist for help with managing white mold in future growing seasons.