Asian Rust Found In Georgia

Asian soybean rust has been confirmed on volunteer soybeans in southwest Georgia last Wednesday, marking the first reported incidence of the feared fungus outside of Florida in 2005.

The rust was found in Seminole County, the southwestern-most county in Georgia, which is near the junction of the Alabama, Florida (panhandle) and Georgia state lines. Previously the only incidences of Asian rust found this year were in three central Florida counties.

The announcement of the discovery came hours after a senior USDA official told a House Agriculture subcommittee hearing in prepared testimony that Asian rust is expected to reach the Midwest by late July or early August.

"It is expected that extension personnel will start finding rust in soybeans first in the southern Gulf Coast region, possibly by June, and then moving north over time, it could peak around late July, early August in the North," said Joseph Jen, USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics.

The northward spread of the windborne fungus will depend on summer storms and how quickly Southern farmers detect and treat infected fields, Jen said. "This is heavily dependent on weather factors and also whether farmers in the South control the disease with timely sprays," Jen said.

Strong winds accompanying a tropical storm, hurricane or severe thunderstorm could blast the fungus from the U.S. Gulf Coast across the continent in as little as three to five days, he said.

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.

To see more market perspectives, visit Brock's Web site at www.brockreport.com.