Update on soybean rust

There are a number of online sources starting to report that conditions may be favorable for soybean rust to hit Midwestern fields this season. Iowa State University Extension runs a site called The Rust Report. A recent posting on June 17 reported that “…Alabama’s extension soybean pathologist said that soybean rust was 3-4 weeks ‘ahead of schedule,’ and it is farther north than in previous years. Georgia’s soybean pathologists said that ‘these early finds mean that soybean rust could be a real threat to the soybean crop if the disease continues to progress.’”

As Daren Mueller, a member of ISU’s soybean rust team, reports, ag specialists in the south earlier in the year were seeing soybean rust appear on kudzu. Kudzu is a vine plant that is loved and hated in Georgia and Alabama. It’s a pest plant that proliferates around abandoned buildings, yet can also be fed as temporary, high-quality forage that cattle tend to like. Earlier this month, some low level rust was found in a kudzu patch in Georgia. That finding has now been updated to include some rust found on southern soybeans. Weather conditions may be favorable for the rust to spread in the Southeastern states. That means we should be on the lookout in the Midwest as growing season progresses.

The Rust Report provides a lot of helpful information on management of soybean rust, how to spot it, how to make sure it’s rust and not a look-alike disease, and many other tips.

According to Stop Soybean Rust.com, “the main effects (of rust) on the soybean plant are destruction of photosynthetic tissue, which in turn causes premature defoliation, early maturation, and severe yield reductions through reduction in the number of pods and seeds, and decreased seed weight.” So close monitoring and information sharing is essential as rust moves out of the South.

Be assured we’ll keep you updated on any notable developments.