Brown Spots in Soybeans (Jul 04, 2017)

Brown spot developing this early in soybeans may lead to premature leaf drop, hence significantly reducing soybean yield. Brown spot symptoms start as small dark brown lesions. These can expand to form large irregular blotches. Continued expansion of these lesions leads to leaf yellowing and eventually premature leaf drop. Brown spot symptoms may be confused with herbicide injury symptoms. However, brown spot symptoms are found on the lower leaves often starting with the unifoliate leaves, whereas herbicide injury symptoms will be on all treated leaves.

Brown spot is caused by a fungal pathogen, Septoria glycines. This pathogen survives on soybean residue and is spread to plants mainly through rain splash but spores can also be blown from neighboring previous soybean fields. Infection is favored by warm moist weather, especially when plant surface remains wet for more than 6 hours.

Crop rotation with a non-host crop such as corn, wheat, or oats is effective in managing brown spot. The brown spot pathogen does not survive for more than one year on crop residue; therefore, crop rotation away from soybeans will greatly reduce the inoculum level.

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