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Avoiding Pythium in Ontario crops

Avoiding Pythium in Ontario crops

Farmers can take steps to prevent disease damage in their fields

By Kaitlynn Anderson
Staff Writer

As planting season approaches, farmers across the province can take precautions to prevent Pythium seedling blight from infecting their crops.

This disease, which favours cool and wet soil conditions, can affect multiple crops, including soybeans and corn.

The disease spores, which can reproduce in as little as three or four hours of wet conditions, travel through water in the soil. Once infected with Pythium, plants may show such symptoms as rotten seeds and poorly developed root systems, according to OMAFRA.

Dale Cowan, a senior agronomist with AGRIS Co-operative, shared a few preventative measures that growers can take to manage this disease.

Farmers should try to avoid “activities that compact soils, tilling when the soil is not fit and planting when the soil is less than 13 C,” Cowan told yesterday.

Over the long term, farmers with clay soils may also want to improve the drainage in their fields, he said.

To know when to scout their fields for this disease, farmers should track their planting dates and CHU accumulation in order to estimate their crop’s emergence dates. Corn, for example, requires 180 CHU to emerge, Cowan explained.

For more information on crop diseases and pests, check out the Field Guide


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