What Soybean Disease to Watch for in 2024

Year to year, soybean diseases can vary significantly, so what might 2024 look like?


This past year, diseases like charcoal rot, frogeye, and white mold created headaches for growers in the Mid-Atlantic region. With the dry-wet-dry weather pattern at specific growth stages, charcoal rot and white mold seemed to impact yield most.


As we have entered the 2024 growing season, we are dealing with much more rainfall than we had at this same time last season, so our disease potential is going to shift toward water molds and diseases like seedling blights, Phytophthora root rot, Sclerotinia white mold, sudden death syndrome, mildew, frogeye, etc.


If you have planted soybean varieties treated with a good seed treatment program, you will likely avoid early-season diseases such as seedling blights and Phytophthora root rots and have some protection against early-season pests like bean leaf beetles or aphids.


Given the environmental conditions we have had so far—lots of moisture and some cold nights—a couple of diseases have the potential to be significant this season.


Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) usually doesn’t exhibit symptoms until around flowering time. Still, the disease infection enters the plant during early vegetative growth stages, particularly during cold, damp growing conditions. SDS is best managed by selecting varieties with a high resistance to the SDS pathogen. Only a few fungicides have activity on SDS, and they must be applied early in the growing season, usually about 10–14 days after emergence, to target the protection at the growth stages of early infection.



Sclerotinia White Mold (SWM) is another more prevalent pathogen when the growing season is wetter. This is another challenging disease that requires early management to control. Currently, several fungicides have been labeled for SWM protection. But again, your best choice is to start with genetics with a high resistance to SWM. If you have persistent SWM issues, there is another biological fungicide that we use to treat the soil, and it attacks and destroys the sclerotia in the soil, reducing the level of infection your crop will need to defend against.


Frogeye Leaf Spot is likely to be a challenge again this season, and this one is more easily managed with specific fungicides. There are some fungicide resistance issues across the southern counties in Pennsylvania and farther south, so choose fungicides with multiple modes of action that have activity on this specific pathogen.


Septoria Brown Spot is a common soybean disease most severe during cool, damp growing conditions. The Septoria glycines fungi typically start on the lower canopy of the plant and move upward as the disease intensifies. Multiple fungicide options are available, and the yield loss from this disease can be up to 20%, so it is often beneficial to invest in controlling this disease.



We’ll be walking and scouting fields all summer, and as agronomic issues arise, we’ll be poised to assist you. If you have questions about managing these challenging diseases, contact our team at PowerAG. We can provide options tailored to your individual needs and yield goals.


Each season is filled with unique concerns, and we are ready to help you with crop protection recommendations and fertility programs designed to give your plants optimum nutrition and support their natural defensive capabilities.