Soybean rust was active in South America for several years before it reared its ugly in the U.S. in 2004. Yet the soybean checkoff worked to prepare for rust's arrival years before it entered the United States. Now the checkoff partners with others to provide soybean farmers the best information on rust so they can make good cropping decisions.
For 2010, that program is changing somewhat. In the beginning, the checkoff partnered with USDA to fund sentinel plots to monitor the spread of soybean rust in partnership with the Integrated Pest Management Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education - called ipmPIPE - since rust was confirmed in the U.S.
Starting in 2010, the United Soybean Board and the North Central Soybean Research Program and state checkoff programs will leverage checkoff funds to support the sentinel plot program. USDA will support the ipmPIPE Web site and one predictive model. Another change affects the placement of those sentinel plots. For 2010, sentinel plots will be primarily in the South, in order to warn Southern Farmers where rust is likely to strike. There will be fewer northern plots funded by state checkoff boards and others, with a greater reliance on ad hoc observations based on risk determined by model predictsion and observations in the South.
In a media release detailing the program, Don Hershman, extension plant pathologist, University of Kentucky, comments: "Spraying decisions should all be based on information, and the sentinel plot has done a great job providing information about the spread of soybean rust. Good information on soybean rust saved U.S. soybean farmers at least $200 million per year on fungicide applications that would not have been necessary, or by giving farmers the information needed to control rust where it did threaten yield."
You can watch for soybean rust events, and track the spread of the disease by visiting www.sbrusa.net