KENTUCKY (FOX 56/WKYT) – Kentucky soybean farmers heads up!
Red crown rot, a disease that affects the crop, has been discovered for the first time ever in Kentucky.
This plant illness has caused soybean farmers in the Deep South to lose up to 30% of their yield if untreated.
“Soybeans get sick too, just like people, and, often times, the things that cause diseases of soybeans are Fungi,” said Professor Carl Bradley, extension plant pathologist at the University of Kentucky.
Bradley says that recently in the western part of the state there had been a case of red crown rot, which if undetected can harm soybean plants and infect the soil.
“Veins of the leaves might stay green while the rest of the leaf tissue is gonna turn yellow or die, but, just above the soil line, that appears reddish in color,” Bradley said.
This is the first time ever that the disease has been recorded in Kentucky. The illness has been found in neighboring Illinois for a couple of years. Meaning that it looks like the fungus is learning to adapt in cooler climates.
“If you have it in a field it’s a bit hard to get rid of because it produces these specialized structures that help it survive the winter and live in the soil,” Bradley said. “So, at that point in time these fields that are affected it’s probably going to be more about management.”
A lot is still unknown about the disease in Kentucky.
The good news is that it mainly affects double crop soybeans and hasn’t been shown to affect any other significant Kentucky crops.
“If you see anything suspicious it’s important to contact your local county extension office and they will help you submit a sample to the UK Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab,” Bradley said.
In the meantime, it’s important to check and monitor your soybean crops while they are in their mature stage to make sure they are clear of the red crown rot.