Biotech Updates

Pioneer Experts Warns Soybean Growers Against White Mold

June 25, 2010

Pioneer Hi Bred released a warning about the weather conditions that may bring white mold infection to soybeans. The growth of white mold is favorable during low temperatures and moist environment. The worst outbreak of white mold since mid-90's was experienced in July 2009, particularly in northeast Iowa, southeastern Minnesota, Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

Although farmers exercise crop rotation to interrupt disease cycles, white mold fungi cannot be eliminated because the pathogen can remain on the fields for ten years. Thus, Pioneer research scientist Don Kyle gave this advice to soybean growers: "The No. 1 thing growers can do to defeat the fungus is with variety selection. In fields with a strong history of white mold or when planting varieties with less tolerance, additional agronomic practices may be warranted, such as lowering plant populations, increasing row widths and utilizing chemical control."

No variety with genetic resistance to white mold is currently available but Pioneer is continuing their search for alternative germplasm sources which could have tolerance to the pathogen. They are also exploring the use of genes outside the soybean genome for possible transgenetic approach in the future.

See Pioneer's press release at