Farmers face a variety of hurdles in order to cultivate a successful crop. White mold is just one of those obstacles. This fungus thrives in cool damp environments. Foggy and brisk mornings create the perfect conditions for white mold to take root.
At first, individuals may mistake the fungus as rat droppings. It presents as firm, black, asymmetrical-shaped forms; these are sclerotia. When the environment cools and the canopy closes, the growth produces tiny mushrooms. The fungus is most likely to take hold during flowering as spores land on dead flowers and invade the plant.
How to Deal with White Mold
By the time the fungus is noticeable, the infestation is two to four weeks old. Below are several tips farmers should keep in mind when dealing with white mold.
- No spray can stop the mold once it has taken root. Save time and money by allowing the mold to run its course. In general, white mold does not colonize from plant to plant. It is possible, but not typical.
- Farmers do not need to fear for their entire farm. A field must have sclerotia present in order for the fungus to grow. However, farmers will want to take note of any infected fields, as they will always have sclerotia after an infection.
- Farmers should harvest infected fields last. Sclerotia lodge themselves in all areas of combine harvesters, so farmers can inadvertently contaminate other fields if they harvest from infested fields first.
- Once harvesting is complete, farmers should avoid tilling infected fields. Surface level sclerotia will die off faster than those buried underground will.
- Farmers should also stay vigilant in their weed removal. White mold can take hold in a variety of plants, including weeds, legumes, and alfalfa. For future crops, farmers should consider wheat or corn for previously infected fields, as they are more resistant to the fungus.
Dealing with mold is never a fun task, but farmers who follow the above guidelines can keep future infestations to a minimum. Farmers can also protect their venture by investing in farming insurance. As the leading provider of agribusiness insurance, Cline Wood can help farmers identify and mitigate risks to their crops and fields. To learn more, contact us today.agribusiness news, crop mold prevention, crop mold removal, farming practices