Minnesota Crop News > 2001-2008 Archives
the Soybean Rust Threat
Seth Naeve, University of Minnesota Soybean Agronomist
discovery of soybean rust in Louisiana could be described
as a bad news/limited good news situation according to
Seth Naeve, University of Minnesota soybean specialist.
The bad news is that the disease poses a serious threat
to Minnesota ’s $1.3 billion soybean crop. The limited
good news is that the discovery of the disease on Nov.
10 means there is not a threat to the 2004 crop and there
is time to prepare for the threat to the 2005 crop.
For the last two years, University of Minnesota researchers
and extension specialists have worked closely with the
Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the Minnesota Soybean
Growers Association and the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion
Council to prepare for soybean rust. “This cooperative
effort will help Minnesota growers deal with the threat
of Asian soybean rust if it reaches our state,” said
Charles Muscoplat, vice president and dean, College of
Agricultural , Food and Environmental Sciences.
In September, the University of Minnesota Outreach ,
Research and Education Park (UMore Park) in Rosemount
hosted a USDA training exercise to develop methods to quickly
identify the disease and employ tactics to minimize the
spread of the soybean rust fungus and the damage it causes. The
procedures identified at the training exercise will be
a crucial part of the USDA’s response to the threat
of Asian soybean rust.
Naeve, a University Agronomy and Plant Genetics faculty
member and extension specialist, said educating first detectors
and producers to correctly identify soybean rust is key.
Successful field scouting will help detect the presence
of soybean rust early. That detection will be difficult
because the early effects of rust can appear similar to
symptoms caused by other soybean diseases.
In addition, the University will be work with its partners
to provide management recommendations on when to invest
in fungicides to protect their crops. Training applicators
on how to apply fungicides will also be important. “Many
applicators in Minnesota ’s soybean growing areas
have never applied fungicides to crops before. This may
be a new experience for them and we want to help them learn
how to apply fungicides safely, accurately, and correctly,” Naeve
EPA-approved fungicides are the most effective control
method for at-risk fields, Naeve said. Over the past few
years, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has worked
with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and the
EPA to secure approval for more fungicides that could help
farmers fight soybean rust. There are presently five fungicides
approved for this use, with more expected to receive approval
University researchers will also be working with USDA
experts to help forecast the potential spread of rust in
the U.S. and evaluate longer term solutions to the problem.
On Nov. 10, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service (APHIS) confirmed that soybean rust has been discovered
in two fields associated with a Louisiana State University
research farm near Baton Rouge . Soybean rust is a fast-spreading
fungal disease that has caused major yield losses around
the globe. It is spread by the wind, and a variety of legumes
including soybeans can serve as a host.
According to USDA-APHIS, the introduction of soybean
rust to Louisiana is likely related to the recent active
hurricane season in that region. APHIS dispatched its soybean
rust detection assessment team, composed of scientific
experts and regulatory officials, to the site within 24
hours. The assessment team will work closely with Louisiana
State Department of Agriculture representatives to assess
the situation and conduct surveillance around the detection
site to determine the extent of the disease spread.
More information about soybean rust is available at web
sites operated by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture www.mda.state.mn.us and
the University of Minnesota . www.soybeans.umn.edu