by DEAN SHANTZ
Fusarium wilt (also called soybean blight) was the culprit causing patches of dying soybean plants throughout Blake’s field.
The disease is caused by a common soil-borne fungus and is predominant when soybeans are under drought stress and root development is inhibited. Both factors can interfere with the normal activity of the plant’s root system and make it vulnerable to root diseases. Two key stressors were present in Blake’s field – soil compaction and lack of moisture.
Fusarium wilt lives up to its name by causing the soybean plant to wilt. It shares this characteristic with Phytophthora root rot, which also exhibits a droopy appearance. But there are two clues that help to rule out Phytophthora.