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Rolled–crimped cereal rye residue suppresses white mold in no-till soybean and dry bean

  • Sarah J. Pethybridge (a1), Bryan J. Brown (a2), Julie R. Kikkert (a3) and Matthew R. Ryan (a4)


White mold caused by the fungus, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is a devastating disease of soybean (Glycine max) and other leguminous crops, including dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). Previous research has demonstrated that no-till planting soybean into rolled–crimped cereal rye residue can enhance weed management, improve soil health and reduce labor requirements in organic production. However, there are limited data on the effects of cereal rye residue on white mold suppression in no-till planted soybean and dry bean. Two field trials were conducted in 2016–2017 (Year 1) and repeated in 2017–2018 (Year 2) to evaluate the potential of cereal rye cover crop residue to suppress white mold in these crops. In each trial (soybean and dry bean), the experimental design was a randomized complete block with two treatments: (1) rolled–crimped cereal rye residue and (2) no cover crop control. Treatment effects on plant population, biomass and yield components varied between the main crops. Compared with the control treatment, cereal rye residue reduced the incidence of white mold in soybean in both years and in dry bean in Year 2. The reduction in white mold in cereal rye residue plots was due to a combination of (1) decreased sclerotial germination (no stipes formed) and (2) increased nonfunctional sclerotial germination defined here as sclerotia that germinated but produced stipes without the expanded cup where asci containing ascospores are formed. Weed density and biomass were lower in cereal rye residue plots in soybean and dry bean, except in Year 1 in soybean when weed biomass was low in both treatments. Our findings indicate that cereal rye residue could help organic and conventional farmers manage white mold in no-till planted soybean and dry bean. Germination of sclerotia resulting in nonfunctional apothecia could potentially exhaust soilborne inoculum in the upper soil profile and reduce infections in subsequent crops.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Sarah J. Pethybridge, E-mail:


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