Asian Rust Cutting Brazil Soy Crop

A top government plant pathologist recently told Reuters News Service that Brazil would lose more than 2.2 million metric tons of its 2002-2003 (October-September) soy crop to Asian rust and the fungus could hit the U.S. crop this year with help from the wind.

Jose Tadashi Yorinori, the plant pathologist for Brazil's crop research department, Embrapa, told Reuters that 1.8 million tons of soy had already been lost to rust in Brazil's number one soy state, Mato Grosso, and 415,000 tons had been lost in minor producer Bahia.

"This does not include losses in those two states caused by excessive rains," said Tadashi. "I have also received reports of rust from the south, in Rio Grande do Sul and Parana, but so far they appear not to have caused significant losses."

Tadashi said Mato Grosso, with 15% of its crop estimated lost, and Bahia, with 20% of its crop lost, were the states hardest hit by the fungus, which spreads its spores on the wind.

"This fungus is everywhere in Brazil. It's widespread in Paraguay. I've heard no report of it in Bolivia or Argentina this year," said Tadashi. "But with the right wind and climatic conditions, it could reach the United States by this year's crop."

Editors note: Richard Brock, The Corn and Soybean Digest's Marketing Editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.