A roller coaster of extreme weather conditions across the United States this planting season, has created a prime breeding ground for Asian soybean rust, says the United Soybean Board (USB).

The plant disease has been found earlier this year than in years past in Louisiana on kudzu, a plant that serves as a rust host, reports the USB. The USB and the soybean checkoff urges farmers to scout, monitor and manage their crop to prevent or minimize a major rust outbreak this summer.

“Soybean farmers have not let soybean rust drop off of their radar,” says Jim Sallstrom, USB’s Rust Initiative Team Lead and a soybean farmer from Winthrop, Minn.

“The soybean checkoff continues to fund research and information tools on soybean rust,” he says. “In the short term, we should be able to help develop varieties that offer some resistance to the disease. We eventually hope to see varieties that offer full resistance to the disease.”

The soybean checkoff will help prepare farmers for a potential outbreak of soybean rust this year.

The soybean checkoff partnered with the North Central Soybean Research Program (NCSRP) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) earlier this year to increase the number of sentinel plots across the country to serve as an early detection of soybean rust. To track the status of soybean rust in sentinel plots, visit the USDA Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education Web site at www.sbrusa.net.

In addition to sentinel plots, the soybean checkoff strives to protect soybean farmers from devastating rust outbreaks by funding the following:

  • Genetic screening of soybean lines for both full and partial rust resistance. Researchers are beginning to make progress, as two genes with rust resistance have been discovered. The genes are being introduced into new breeding lines of soybeans that could lead to rust-resistant varieties.
  • Research that tracks the movement of airborne soybean rust spores and how spores relate to disease detection.
  • The soybean checkoff funded the development of the Plant Health Guide, and the Soybean Diagnostic Guide and is funding a diagnostic field tool to help identify soybean rust and other plant diseases and pests. Materials are available at www.stopsoybeanrust.com.

“It’s important to scout your fields, but it’s also important to stay tuned to what’s happening in your area,” says Jason Bean, USB spokesman and a farmer from Holcomb, Mo. “Use extension agents as resources, find out what your neighbors are dealing with in their fields, and use the Internet and other tools to monitor the spread of rust.”

USB is made up of 64 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply.

As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Customer Information Act, USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff. To learn more about checkoff production research efforts, visit www.unitedsoybean.org

Source: United Soybean Board News Release