Sudden death syndrome has a dramatic name, for sure. But then, it’s a dramatic disease. It waits until soybean plants are well established, then strikes in late summer, often suddenly. It can reduce yields up to fifty percent in severe cases. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most widespread soybean diseases, appearing in most of the Great Plains and Midwest states.
Since the best management strategy is planting resistant varieties, it’s important for farmers and plant pathologists to diagnose sudden death syndrome accurately. That way, farmers can plan ahead and reduce the damage to their future crops.
This realistic replica of a soybean plant with sudden death syndrome helps teach people how to recognize the symptoms. We originally developed it for a soybean checkoff, but it could work just as well for an ag college or university extension office.
Re-Creating Sudden Death Syndrome’s Symptoms
The leaves on our soybean replica show the blight pattern associated with sudden death syndrome. Typically, the leaves begin dying in small spots between the veins, which can spread to cover most of the leaf. Our craftsmen painted the replica to show this progression. Some leaves have only a slight discoloration, while others are almost entirely brown.
Sudden death syndrome’s most distinctive symptom is the leaf die-off it causes. Unlike some other soybean diseases, sudden death syndrome causes the leaves to drop off but doesn’t cause stems to break. The replica we made accurately re-creates the bare, leafless stems at the top of the plant.
Using the Sudden Death Syndrome Replica
It’s no surprise that teaching growers and plant pathologists to diagnose this disease is a priority. And with an accurate replica to show what a soybean with sudden death syndrome looks like, educators can offer hands-on learning any time of the year. They don’t have to go looking for a real diseased soybean or worry about preserving specimens. This kind of plant is ready rain or shine, summer or winter, 365 days a year.