Powdery mildew—caused by the fungus Erisyphe diffusa
(syn. Microsphaera diffusa
)—was first observed in commercial soybean crops in southern New South Wales (NSW), Australia, in 2011. Its detection raised concerns that soybean production might be constrained if the severity of the disease reached the levels observed in northern Australia. Field experiments were conducted over four consecutive seasons to examine the response of three soybean cultivars—Djakal, SnowyA
and the breeding line N005A-80—to two fungicides and two fungicide application regimes. The cultivar Djakal was identified as having a high level of resistance to powdery mildew. The severity of infection symptoms varied between seasons. The most severe symptoms were observed during the 2014–2015 season which resulted in the largest grain yield reduction of 20% for the cultivar SnowyA
. All fungicide treatments provided a significant reduction in the severity of symptoms, with the split application of tebuconazole and both the single and split applications of tebuconazole + prothioconazole providing the most effective control of the disease. Few other grain yield effects were found, even when strong disease control was achieved. This was a suspected result of the consistent late-in-the-season onset of the disease. Few differences were observed among the treatments in terms of lodging severity, date of physiological maturity, or grain oil and protein concentrations. It was concluded that both fungicides provided effective control of powdery mildew. However, when disease pressure is low, application might not be warranted in southern NSW.
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