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Soybean Rust Research Could Mean Savings for Growers

15 November 2012

US - Scientists at Land-Grant Universities across the states have been awarded an Experiment Station Section Award for their research into identifying management strategies for soybean rust.

The rust is a fungal disease that poses a serious threat to U.S. soybean production which was first detected in the U.S. in 2004, and caused serious concern due to high yield losses from the disease in South America.

The paper, “Response to Emerging Soybean Rust Threat,” was recognized for responding rapidly to the threat of soybean rust, The disease has spread through the Southern and Midwestern U.S., with some states experiencing severe yield losses in isolated areas.

Because disease-resistant soybean varieties are not yet available, the industry is completely dependent on fungicides to control its spread.

The study began in 2005, with soybean rust sentinel plots being established across the state to monitor the establishment and spread of rust within the state.

Those recognized for the research include Doug Jardine, extension plant pathologist with K-State Research and Extension.

“Kansas soybean producers were major beneficiaries of this collaborative effort,” Jardine said, adding that $25-$30 per acre can be saved for every acre not sprayed.

“Because of these efforts, growers were confident in not applying fungicides to their crops in 2005 and 2006. In 2007, when soybean rust did appear in Kansas, fungicide applications were able to be targeted only to those areas of the state with established infections.”

Researchers have made valiant efforts to test and register fungicides for use in the U.S., giving soybean producers more options for controlling the disease. The project established an extensive disease monitoring system that has helped farmers know more precisely when and what types of fungicide to use.

Timely, accurate information has greatly reduced the amount of fungicide used by growers, thus saving the soybean industry hundreds of millions of dollars and reducing human and environmental health risks.

TheCropSite News Desk

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