Asian soybean rust was identified in Georgia on April 27, confirming that the disease made it through the U.S. winter. It also sends notice to the industry that the fungal disease will be part of the 2005 growing season.
"We're going to find it in other states," USDA Secretary Mike Johanns told Pork magazine in a recent visit to its offices. "I would not be surprised to see it in at least nine states this year."
It is spread primarily and easily by wind–borne spores, which can be transported over long distances. As most people know, rust first surfaced in the United States last fall in Louisiana. It also was found in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina and Tennessee.
"If you are a soybean producer, you need to be concerned about soybean rust," says Johanns. He strongly advises becoming familiar with the disease's symptoms. "It masks itself; it looks like other things," he notes. "That's why identification and monitoring are critical."
Soybean rust can significantly reduce soybean yields, but it doesn't have to, provided early detection and quick treatment with approved fungicides occurs.
USDA has updated the soybean rust tracking feature on its Web site to keep soybean growers and users informed about the disease. At www.usda.gov/soybeanrust, you can get up–to–date forecasts on where soybean rust is likely to appear in the United States and reports where the disease exists by county. It lists the National Plant Diagnostic Network laboratories and links to other Web sites to give growers effective disease-management options. Interested parties can sign up on the Web site to receive e–mail alerts that are sent when new rust finds are discovered or important information becomes available.
Another informational Web site, sponsored by Vance Publishing (Pork's publishing company) and others, can be found at www.stopsoybeanrust.com
USDA encourages growers to contact USDA's Extension Service, their state department of agriculture and their crop consultants to get information on what fungicides are approved and registered for use in their states, as well as when these fungicides should be used.