Research Associate, Department of Plant Pathology, The Ohio State University, Wooster 44691
Professor, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, The Ohio State University, Columbus 43210
Phytophthora root and stem rot of soybean commonly causes losses in both stand and yield in Ohio. Environmental conditions which favor the pathogen typically occur in many areas of the state during late spring and summer. This study examined the performance of 12 soybean cultivars with partial resistance, with or without Rps genes, to different populations of Phytophthora sojae and various levels of disease pressure. The soybean cultivars were evaluated in seven field environments with and without metalaxyl over 4 years. There was a highly significant genotype-environment interaction which was due in part to variable disease pressure. The incidence of Phytophthora stem rot in subplots ranged from 0 to 10 plants in the most susceptible cultivar, Sloan, while significantly less stem rot developed in cultivars with high levels of partial resistance or partial resistance combined with an Rps gene in three of the seven environments. Metalaxyl applied in-furrow had a significant effect on early and final plant populations as well as yield (P < 0.001) in two of the seven environments, and for yield (P = 0.05) in one environment. This indicates that at these two environments, 2001 Lakeview and VanBuren, early season Phytophthora disease was controlled with the in-furrow fungicide treatment. When diverse populations of P. sojae were present, yields from soybean cultivars with high levels of partial resistance were significantly higher than those with low levels of partial resistance. Soybean cultivars with specific resistance genes Rps1k, Rps1k + Rps6, or Rps1k +Rps3a had higher yields than plants with only partial resistance in environments where race determination indicated that the populations of P. sojae present were not capable of causing disease on plants with the Rps1k gene. However, in an environment with very low disease pressure, yields of soybean cultivars with partial resistance were not significantly different from those with single Rps genes or Rps gene combinations. These results demonstrate that genetic traits associated with high levels of partial resistance do not have a negative effect on yield. Soybean cultivars that had the most consistent ranking across environments were those with moderate levels of partial resistance in combination with either Rps1k or Rps3a.