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Disease Study Group: Focus on new and emerging soybean diseases

Principal Investigator: Albert Tenuta

Research Institution: Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)

Timeline: February 2013 – March 2016


  • Organize a core group of Extension personnel including Ontario to annually identify and develop Extension material for new or emerging (endemic) diseases for Ontario and the Midwest US.
  • Provide information on multiple levels of Extension interface (print, web, video, smartphone, Ontario Grain Farmers magazine, etc.) to reach diverse groups of stakeholders.
  • Create a platform to host and brand Extension material developed in conjunction with the North Central Soybean Research Program and Grain Farmers of Ontario to facilitate updates and allow users to identify trusted sources of material through this branding partnership.
  • Provide current research summaries on emerging diseases to direct and coordinate future research priorities thereby minimizing duplication, maximizing resources and increasing response time.


  • The development and dissemination of Extension material developed in conjunction with the North Central Soybean Research Program and Grain Farmers of Ontario allows producers to make in-season decisions on diseases from a trusted source.
  • The ultimate goal is that industry personnel and soybean farmers will have an improved awareness of emerging diseases, and this information will prevent soybean/corn yield losses by identifying and managing present and future disease issues.
  • Development of Crop Protection Network (CPN) website ( and certain CPN materials are available on the GFO website (

Scientific Summary:

Disease severity and prevalence are impacted each year by changes in crop production practices and environmental conditions. There are diseases that are an annual threat, such as sudden death syndrome (SDS) and soybean cyst nematode (SCN), but many other diseases are sporadic, new, or emerging in the North Central Region of the USA and Ontario. These diseases are concerning to farmers due to the lack of Extension information available when outbreaks occur. In a traditional system, research is conducted, and Extension materials are developed and disseminated at the end of the project. This creates a “gap” in industry and farmer awareness for emerging diseases and prevents stakeholders from obtaining the most current information about emerging issues until research projects can be completed.

This project aimed to develop a North Central Disease Study Group that would bridge the gap between research and Extension for emerging disease threats and provide industry and farmers with the most up-to-date information available about emerging diseases each year. We identified a group of Extension and research personnel to contribute information and technical expertise to Extension material focusing on new as well as emerging disease problems. The first product was on the new virus, Soybean Vein Necrosis Virus (SVNV), which was first observed to be widely distributed across the North Central Region and Ontario in 2012 and 2013. Our collaborative efforts and meetings generated 9 publications to date with others in development as well as videos and other media products. All materials are drafted by the Crop Protection Network development team of which Albert Tenuta is the Ontario representative. We have developed the “Crop Protection Network” brand as a means to promote/represent Universities, NCSRP and Grain Farmers of Ontario on Extension material produced from this project.  Web presence and optimization of web resources continue to be discussed, and inclusion of these materials on the Crop Protection Network website, NCSRP Plant Health Initiative website and Grain Farmers of Ontario website on the Production Resources page. 

Our Soybean Pathology Working Group has demonstrated the ability to bridge the gap between research and Extension for endemic and emerging diseases and has provided farmers and industry with the most up-to-date information available each year. This group has identified diseases that are concerning to farmers due to the lack of Extension information available, developed outputs in various formats (print, web, video), and disseminated them to Ontario and all of the North Central states.  This model improves stakeholder awareness of diseases and creates a template\brand (Crop Protection Network) for information that is easily recognized by soybean farmers as an output funded and created by Extension and the North Central Soybean Research Program (NCSRP) and the Grain Farmers of Ontario.  This model has been hugely successful and has not gone unnoticed.  In November 2015 the group’s publications were recognized by the American Society of Agronomy at their annual meeting in Minneapolis with the 2015 Extension Education Community Educational Materials Award.  A Crop Protection Network Website was developed and will also house all future CPN publications/resources as they are produced.

External Funding Partners:

The Crop Protection Network (CPN) is a multi-state and international collaboration of university and provincial Extension specialists, and public and private professionals that provide unbiased, research-based information to farmers and agricultural personnel. This effort was supported by the North Central Soybean Research Program (NCSRP), the United Soybean Board (USB), the Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) along with OMAFRA. US partner institutions include Purdue University, Iowa State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Michigan State University as well as specialists/researchers from 29 Land Grant Universities. All Land Grant Universities involved are also supported by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Project Related Publications:

Please visit the Crop Protection Network website at to view these and other CPN developed resources.