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Survey and management of soybean diseases

Principal Investigator

Owen Wally

Research Institution

Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada (AAFC)

Project Start

June 2016

Project End

March 2019


  • Conduct an up-to-date disease survey in Ontario soybean fields, for pathogen distribution and levels.
  • Optimize existing molecular biology methods for quantification of soil pathogen load.
  • Determine thresholds for root diseases for soybeans and field risk for disease outbreak (2017-2018).


  • The reduction in the cost and time involved in determining the presence and quantity pathogen over time will enable growers, industry stakeholders and fellow researchers to identify and determine incidence levels and damage thresholds within soybean fields and allow better management of pests.
  • The improved understanding of key risk factors for soybean pathogen development will allow growers to use integrated pest management strategies including:
    • Planting resistant soybean varieties.
    • Using appropriate crop rotations.
    • Accurately timing and choice of chemical control.

Scientific Summary

Soybean is one of the most economically important field crop grown in Ontario and continues to see losses caused by persistent and changing diseases. Losses due to disease continue to be one of the major limitations affecting soybean production not only in Ontario but in all of the North American growing regions. Soybean pathogens are continuing to evolve and occupy new niches as the total areas where the plant can be grown continues to increase. Understanding the risk factors in disease establishment that individual producer’s face is of greatest importance to limit reductions in overall yields and quality. These key risk factors involve the pathogen, the plant host, environmental influence and the timing of all these factors. Pathogenic factors that influence formations of disease include; the location of the pathogen, amount of inoculum and the virulence of the pathogen controlled by genetics. Increased knowledge about the location and quantity of the pathogen provides numerous benefits to growers and researchers in allowing more accurate timing of chemical control, planting of resistant soybean varieties, using appropriate crop rotations and it allows breeders to target resistance towards the known genetic variants of the pathogen. With the changes in pathogen genetics and distribution it becomes increasingly more important to continual monitor their levels and range to implement suitable and sustainable control measures.

This project will focus on improvement of the overall sustainability of soybean production through increased information of pathogen genetics and distribution by conducting a continuing comprehensive survey for plant diseases in Ontario soybean producing areas. To that end we hope to be able to build capacity for future work by developing a baseline understanding of several pathogens present within the Ontario growing regions by conducting detailed disease surveys in the region. This research will help increase the current understanding for growers, industry stakeholders and fellow researchers on identification and determining incidence levels and damage thresholds within soybean fields.

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