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What's the National Sclerotinia Initiative?
April 24, 2003

Think of the National Sclerotinia Initiative as a full court press against white mold. The National Dry Bean Council (to which the Northarvest Bean Growers Association belongs), the American Soybean Council, U.S. Canola Association, the National Sunflower Association and the U.S. Dry Pea and Lentil Council banded together to support creation of a National Sclerotinia Research Initiative administered by the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

The program is patterned after the National Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative, whereby stakeholders and researchers provide input for a multi-state, multi-crop national research effort to identify ways to address the disease.

Congress awarded $900,000 in fiscal year (FY) 2002 to begin the National Sclerotinia Initiative. Research will focus on genetics and breeding, disease epidemiology and crop management practices. The money funded the following work:

*North Dakota State University - Ken Grafton, Identify and introgress molecular markers for white mold resistance in dry beans.
*North Dakota State University - L. del Rio et al., Use of Intercept for control of Sclerotinia on dry beans, canola and sunflower in North Dakota.
*USDA-ARS at Prosser - P. Miklas, Towards market assisted breeding for white mold resistance in common beans.
*University of Idaho and Colorado State University  - S.P. Sigh and H.F. Schwartz, respectively, Introgressing white mold resistance from the secondary gene pool of common bean.* Colorado State University - H.F. Schwartz and M.A. Brick, Eco-tillage, biopesticides and resistance management of white mold in dry beans.
*Oregon State University - J. Myers and H. Stotz, transfer of total Sclerotinia resistance from Phaseolus coccineus to P. vulgaris.
*Michigan State University - J. Kelly, Combining conventional and contemporary approaches to develop white mold resistance in dry beans.
*The stakeholders currently plan to ask Congress for $2.5 million in FY 2003 and $5.4 million in each FY2004 and 2005 to continue the program.
*U.S. yield losses in dry beans, canola, sunflower, pea and lentil due to white mold are said to exceed $150 million annually.


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