Lots of midwest gardens and crops show what I call tiny root syndrome. If you look at my friends soybean roots you can see them clustered near the top of the soil. If you did your plant roots I imagine most of you see the same thing in many of your plants.
I see three root clusters in the photo and some gravel. If you look closer you see some white nodules on the soybean roots. Hopefully, they are pink inside showing some nitrogen production for that crop.
This farmer is looking for SDS symptoms in this crop and they are hard to distinguish from brown stem rot. If you split these stems with a knife, BSR will show dark to black lesions in the stem tissue.
Other crops won't show this difference. All crops were subject to tiny root syndrome with the planting conditions this spring. It was cool and damp to plant anything and many farmers and gardeners waiting to plant their seed.
Many of us took our best shot and planted in April when the soil was warm even though the night time temperatures were cool. It was easy to develop tiny root syndrome in this years plantings.
These fields sprouted for the most part but developed small roots when it rained all May in most locations. You got a small root like these which needed more rain when it did dry out. Many midwest crops show this. Some got more rain when it needed it and some did not. Many fields received too much rain.
The Pro Farmer crop tour this week in the Eastern Corn Belt will reveal this. Some crops will be green but if you dig them up they have little roots. If they got more rain they will show various stages of a good crop and if they didn't, they will still be stunted to one extreme to the other.
SDS is one thing, tiny roots could have added to it. Any crop with small roots like we had this year is subject to any pest than came down the pike and that included disease, insects and weeds.