Asian Rust In Georgia, Alabama

Georgia and Alabama on Friday were added to the ranks of states where the Asian soybean rust fungus has been found, bringing the number of states with confirmed outbreaks to five.

In an update on its Website, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health inspection Service said a leaf sample from a Seminole County, Georgia soybean field tested positive for Asian rust, along with a sample from a field in Mobile County, Alabama.

APHIS also reported that Asian rust had been found on a kudzu plant in Florida. Kudzu is an invasive plant that can serve as a "host" for the fungus that causes the disease. The number of confirmed U.S. Asian rust cases now stands at ten.

USDA soybean rust experts have been dispatched to Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi to assist with assessment activities in those states, while the Florida Department of Plant Industry continues to conduct surveillance and sample collection activities in high-risk areas. On Thursday, tests confirmed soybean rust at an experimental plot managed by the University of Florida in Quincy, Fla.

More suspect fields are being discovered daily in Louisiana, according to university scientists there. State agriculture officials and Louisiana State University Agriculture Center extension specialists are planning to hold meetings with all the state’s soybean growers over the next couple of months to discuss new recommendations concerning soybean production in Louisiana.

Although the soybean harvest is more than 95% completed nation wide, the information gathered in the ongoing Gulf Coast regional assessment this year will help researchers, extension specialists and regulatory officials determine the distribution of the fungus here, APHIS said.. The data collected in the coming weeks will be made available to help state departments of agriculture and extension specialists prepare soybean growers across the country for the spring planting season.

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.