University of Illinois Extension members say the Illinois Department of Agriculture's announcement of Asian soybean rust in southern Illinois should not be a cause for major concern, as it will not affect this year's crop.
"The arrival of rust so late in the year will have no impact on the 2006 soybean crop," says plant pathologist Suzanne Bissonnette, soybean rust coordinator for University of Illinois Extension. "The soybean harvest is already well underway across much of the state. Those areas that have experienced a hard frost will not be affected at all. No management actions should be undertaken by growers or commercial applicators at this time."
The discovery marks the farthest north detection of Asian soybean rust in the U.S, but after rust had been confirmed in parts of Kentucky adjacent to southern Illinois, "The discovery of soybean rust in the southern part of Illinois was not completely unexpected," says Bissonnette.
Bissonnette points out that rust can cause significant defoliation, loss of yield, and plant death when it infects plants earlier in the growth cycle, during the vegetative and early reproductive stages. "Luckily the outbreak this time came late in the season and will have no significant impact on the crop."
Guidelines for management and additional information on soybean rust are available on the national soybean rust website at www.sbrusa.net/ and the University of Illinois Crop Sciences Departments website at soyrust.cropsci.uiuc.edu/index.cfm.