Development of Integrated Management Practices for Soil-Borne Diseases of Sugar Beets Grant uri icon



  • Soil-borne diseases, especially fungal pathogens, can harm emerging crops such as sugar beets and result in severe yield losses. Growers treat their seeds with fungicides to protect the emerging seedlings, but these chemicals only provide a short period of protection and will lose their efficacy even faster under conductive environmental conditions, such as high soil moisture, lower soil temperatures, and increased microbial degradation. In comparison, biological control agents (BCAs), mainly bacterial and fungal organisms with the ability to produce antibiotic-like compounds and compete for nutrients and space with the pathogens, can survive for a long time by colonizing the root. Depending on the degree of colonization, this can protect the plant throughout the whole growing season. This project is aimed to identify suitable BCA and fungicide combinations for the control of certain soil-borne diseases under conditions prevalent in southern Idaho. Laboratory and greenhouse experiments, conducted under conditions mimicking environmental conditions during the spring, will screen existing BCAs for their ability to colonize and protect sugar beet roots against individual fungal pathogens and for their compatibility with existing and new fungicides. Finally, suitable combinations of BCAs and fungicides will be tested in fields with a known history of crop losses caused by soil-borne pathogens. The gained data will help to improve the protection of not only emerging sugar beets, but also other crops such as beans, wheat, etc. The utilization of BCAs in combination with chemical seed treatments or as standalone treatments has the potential to reduce pesticide utilization and therefore reduce health risks and environmental contamination.

date/time interval

  • January 1, 2010 - June 30, 2014

sponsor award ID

  • IDA01407



  • Neher, O T   Principal Investigator   2010 - 2014