Soybean growers now have a key to unlock problems they encounter during the growing season, whether from insects, diseases, nutrients, weeds, herbicides or weather.

An interactive diagnostic guide has been published by the United Soybean Board (USB) in St. Louis to help farmers quickly identify causes of problems.

“It's a thorough guide of both common and rare problems,” said Bill Wiebold, Extension soybean agronomist at the University of Missouri who headed the two-year project.

The guide, prepared in three formats, will be available free to soybean producers who ask for it.

“Top experts in all fields of soybean production across the country contributed,” Wiebold said.

One version is a printed picture book that can fit in a hip pocket or on the pickup dashboard, Wiebold said. Information in the book is also on a CD ROM for use in a computer. Another interactive version is at http://www.psu.missouri.edu/soydoc/ on the Internet.

An introduction tells crop scouting techniques that will help narrow the problem.

“Accurate identification of the problem is the first step to finding the correct solution,” Wiebold said. “The diagnostic guide gives a comprehensive and systematic approach to identification.

“Some problems will take laboratory confirmation,” Wiebold added. “However, a great many problem pests and stresses can be identified with the visuals provided.”

Wiebold added that there might be multiple problems in the same soybean field. “Look carefully at all of the possibilities before making a decision.”

The Internet version is completed. The book and CD version will be available on request beginning this month. Soybean growers will receive a mailer with a return postcard to order their preference. There will be advertisements, starting this month, with a toll-free number to call with orders.

Individual state soybean associations will handle distribution in their areas. In Missouri that will be the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, Box 104778, Jefferson City, Mo. 65110.

Duane Dailey is a Senior Writer with Extension & Ag Information at the University of Missouri.