Last year, soybean rust made its way farther north than it ever has before, to northern Indiana. Soybean checkoff dollars will again fund soybean sentinel plots in 2007.

In 2006, soybean rust was confirmed in 274 counties in 15 states. Some farmers are concerned that a mild winter may result in even more 2007 rust findings.

Researchers found actively sporulating rust pustules on new growth of kudzu in Georgia and Florida in January.

Farmers can monitor rust findings on www.sbrusa.net, which is regularly updated by checkoff-funded researchers and others who closely monitor sentinel plots. The site shows where rust was confirmed in previous years and how to spot and spray for soybean rust.

The checkoff also funds projects focused on mapping known rust-resistant genes to understand how this resistance works. Two genes for resistance have been mapped, and the information is available to soybean breeders.

Another checkoff-funded project researches the relationship between rust spores in the air and the prevalence of the disease in the field.