C. B. Hill, Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801;
C. R. Bowen, United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Services; and
G. L. Hartman, USDA-ARS and Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801
Green stem disorder of soybean (Glycine max) has increasingly become a nuisance for soybean producers. The disorder is distinguished from other manifestations of delayed plant maturity by the delayed senescence of stems only, with normal pod ripening and seed maturation. The primary objective of the first study was to determine whether green stem disorder increased with a fungicide treatment. Field cages to isolate soybean plants to prevent insect interactions were used and treatments included maturity group (MG) II insensitive and sensitive soybean cultivars with or without fungicide applications. A secondary objective was to determine fungi potentially associated with the disorder. The results indicated significant elevation of the incidence of green stem disorder when using a fungicide. Species of Diaporthe or Phomopsis and Macrophomina phaseolina were more frequent in stems without the disorder, whereas species of Colletotrichum were found mostly in stems with the disorder. In another study, field experiments were conducted without cages in replicated field plots to compare the effects of fungicides with different chemistries and timing of fungicide application on incidence of green stem disorder using green stem disorder MG II- and MG III-sensitive and insensitive soybean cultivars. There was a significant increase in percentage of green stem disorder due to fungicide application, depending on fungicide chemistry, timing of application, year, location, and cultivar sensitivity to green stem disorder. Generally, Headline and Headline-Domark applications resulted in higher incidence of green stem disorder than Domark alone or the nonsprayed control, with over 50% incidence in many cases. Higher percent green stem disorder was significantly (P < 0.05) associated with higher yields in 11 of the 28 trials. From the results of this research, soybean producers should be aware of the possible risk that fungicide application may have in increasing incidence of green stem disorder. In addition, producers can help manage green stem disorder by selecting soybean cultivars reported to be consistently insensitive to the disorder.