The survey is conducted in late August
and early September of each year to determine the levels of various
diseases as the soybean crop heads toward harvest. Primary funding
is provided by the Illinois Soybean Checkoff Board.
"This year we found large numbers of
fields in the middle to northern part of the state with severe
outbreaks of SDS," said Glen Hartman, USDA plant pathologist at the
U of I. "Jason Bond and his team from SIU found the same results in
their part of survey, which covered the southern counties of
Illinois. Except for the northernmost tier of counties, we found SDS
to be widespread across the entire state."
The survey covered at least five fields
from every county in the state. In some counties, more than 20
fields were evaluated for the presence of disease problems.
"The survey involves much than simply
driving by a field," Hartman said. "We stopped at a minimum of five
fields per county. We then took a close look at what plant disease
problems were present and evaluated their severity in the specific
Hartman notes that this year's results
were quite similar to what was found in 1997, which was a severe
year for SDS.
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"The incidence of SDS in this survey
was probably double or triple what we found last year," he said.
"The disease was clearly back in force. I would rank this as one of
the top two or three worst years for SDS since we have been taking
According to Hartman, severity of the
disease varied from just a few spots to more than half of a field.
"Some counties in the central part of
the state were particularly hard-hit," Hartman said. "In some areas,
you could hardly drive along without seeing signs of the disease
almost everywhere you looked."
Hartman points out that the high
incidence of SDS in the survey is likely related to the cooler than
normal temperatures and wetter conditions during the current growing
was the most severe problem that we found, SDS was not the only
disease that showed up during the survey," Hartman said. "There were
certain counties, especially in the northern part of the state,
where we ran into quite a bit of white mold, brown stem rot and even
of Illinois news release]