Although soybean rust did not cause serious losses for farmers in 2006, the fungus that causes the disease made its way farther north than ever last year, and some researchers are concerned that the disease may move farther this year. In response to growing concern about the disease, which can cause substantial damage to soybean yield if it strikes early enough in the growing cycle, the Soybean Checkoff and USDA will partner to fund sentinel plots across the country.
The plots will help to monitor the movement of the disease in order to give farmers an early warning. The new plots, sponsored by the United Soybean Board and North Central Soybean Research Program with USDA, with complement the USDA plots already in place.
Timely detection of the disease can provide U.S. farmers with enough advanced warning to enable proper application of fungicides, the only effective management option for soybean rust at this time. Fungicides applied too late may be ineffective, and applications made too early could result in decreased effectiveness and the need for additional applications. Also, unnecessary treatments will result in higher input costs, reducing farmer profitability.
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 also provides information on where rust was confirmed in previous years as well as information on how to spot and spray for soybean rust.