Over the weekend, soybean rust was spotted in eight different southern Illinois counties.
Since almost the entire soybean crop is past the R5 stage, Carl Bradley, plant pathologist with the University of Illinois, says the find is more important academically, rather than economically. That being said, he recognizes there may be a handful of double crop soybean fields currently in the R4 stage.
In 2006, soybean rust first showed up in Illinois. Bradley says it typically shows up late, in September or October, and is usually confined to southern Illinois. Bradley says the lateness of this year made it more of a concern for rust.
"This year was different because the crops were later, which meant the risk was a little higher," Bradley explains. "It's probably the closest call we've had yet."
Had rust shown up three weeks earlier, Bradley says this may have been a different story. "I'm thankful it came when it did and not earlier."
Since rust is an invasive species, Bradley says it will be tough to make any predictions going forward. "Knowing how diseases can adapt and change, we still don't know what we're in for," he adds.
However, he notes Illinois cold winters typically kill off any rust organisms.