The UDSA soybean rust reporting Web site has reported the detection of 'rust-like' spores in Illinois, Tennessee and Kentucky. None have found infection; Asian soybean rust plant infection has only been detected this season in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia.
Friday afternoon findings were confirmed in Effingham County and Brooks County in Georgia. The Effingham outbreak is just northwest of Savannah, on the South Carolina border, and is much farther to the north and east of the known sources than the other new finds.
Plant pathologists from North Carolina's North American Plant Disease Forecast Center say this new find is only mildly surprising. "The weather in the region has been generally favorable for some time, and there have been a number of transport events that may have deposited viable rust spores in this area," its forecast says.
Illinois trap turns up rust-like spores
A spore trap in Champaign County, Illinois has turned up four rust-like spores, but plant pathologists are quick to say that this finding does NOT mean we have Asian soybean rust infection in Illinois.
"No infected plants have been found and the spores are the shape of fungal rust spores but they have not yet been identified as Asian soybean rust," says Suzanne Bissonnette, U of I Extension Educator IPM.
At this time, Bissonnette says that U of I Extension recommendations are that farmers south of Champaign County in Illinois and within a 200 mile radius begin diligent scouting for Asian soybean rust on a three day schedule.
"Check the lower half of 20 plants in 5 locations in a contiguous field. Suspicious samples consisting of 20 leaflets wrapped in a paper towel should be double bagged in zip locked bags and brought to your local Extension Unit office for pre-evaluation by diagnosticians to determine if further testing at the U of I Plant Clinic is necessary.
"Our recommendation at this time is NOT to spray fungicides for Asian soybean rust, no infection has been found," says Bissonnette.
"So don't over react to the spore findings in Illinois. But it would still be wise to redouble your soybean scouting efforts. You will save yourself time, money and will be a continuing good steward to the land by getting the right information before reacting," says Bissonnette.