BENTON -- The bad news is Asian Soybean Rust has been found in the area. The good news is it is probably too late to hurt our crops.
David Reinbott, agriculture business specialist for University of Missouri Extension in Scott County, confirmed the disease was found among sample leaves he sent in but doesn't have any additional information at this time.
Various fields are designated as "sentinel plots" by the University Extension in cooperation with local farmers. Hundred-leaf samples are periodically taken from these sentinel plots to check for soybean rust.
"I don't know what field or where it was at," Reinbott said.
Jeff House, agronomy specialist for the University of Missouri Extension in New Madrid County, said evidence of Asian Soybean Rust was found Tuesday afternoon near Hayti by a visual inspection.
"We have not found it in New Madrid County at this time but we will continue looking," House said.
While it has been detected in 12 other states in 2007 including Illinois, this is the first time this year Asian Soybean Rust has been found in Missouri, according to House.
"It's a fungal disease that, as its name implies, started out in Asia. It made its way to South America and was brought to the United States by a hurricane about two years ago," he said. "It can be a totally devastating disease if it hits at the wrong time."
Asian Soybean Rust has been known to reduce soybean yields from 10 to 80 percent in infected areas.
"It's very hard to find. A lot of times by the time you see the physical symptoms, it's getting to be too late," House added. If fungicide treatments are needed, "both the the timing and the application are extremely critical to get efficient control of this disease."
When detected in a sentinel plot sample, "whether its one leaf out of a hundred or a hundred out of a hundred, it doesn't make any difference, we have to call it as soon as we see it," House said. "As it is now, it is a slight instance but we don't know how it will progress. The weather pattern we have right now could really accelerate it as it is moisture and temperature sensitive. The main thing is, we have never seen soybean rust here in our present environment, so it will be a steep learning curve."
Dale R. Ludwig, executive director/CEO of the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council recommended in a press release that "farmers contact their local extension office if they suspect they've found rust in their fields."
While growers should keep an eye out for the disease, experts believe crops here will be OK.
"I don't think it will hurt too many soybeans, if any, just because it is coming in so late," Reinbott said. "The infection would take so long to develop that the beans should be out before the disease has developed. Hopefully our soybeans are already past the susceptibility stage."
Other experts, including House, agreed.
"We feel that over 90 percent of the beans are past danger," House said. "The only ones we are concerned about now are late season irrigated beans. The late season dry land beans we're not worried about because the drought took them out in July and August."
"You need to have a ballpark of a 40 bushel yield potential before I would consider spraying this," he continued. "If the beans in the top four nodes of the soybean plant are full, tight and the beans are touching, that is considered R6 and we feel like the beans will not need treatment. Once again, the majority of beans in this area are past that stage. We do feel the majority of the beans are out of danger."
House said if this had been a typical year, this could have been a more serious problem but the general consensus among farmers is that beans are about two weeks ahead of schedule this year.
"All the crops seem like their about two weeks ahead of schedule," he said.
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