ST. LOUIS (April 28, 2005) – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced Asian soybean rust has been identified in Seminole County, Ga., on volunteer soybeans. This is the first confirmed U.S. case in soybeans for the 2005 season. The confirmation was made by officials with the University of Georgia’s Plant Disease Clinic in Tifton, Ga.

“While rust has now been confirmed in Georgia on volunteer soybeans, it’s important to remember that it can be managed like other soybean diseases, as long as we continue to scout and monitor its spread,” says Greg Anderson, United Soybean Board (USB) chairman and farmer from Newman Grove, Neb. “Soybean farmers can take heart that we are reducing the potential impact of rust through our own checkoff dollars. The soybean checkoff is helping keep farmers regularly informed about the status of rust so we can take appropriate actions to minimize yield loss.”

The checkoff and other industry partners have worked with USDA to create a Web site to track soybean rust movement at www.usda.gov/soybeanrust. The site houses three U.S. maps to provide the latest disease observations, management tips and scouting recommendations. The maps are updated by individual state soybean specialists, who make their interpretations and recommendations at the state and local level.

The disease observation map shows the negative and confirmed observations of rust, the disease management map provides control recommendations from each state soybean specialist and the scouting map shows where and when to look for the first appearance of disease.

“We know now that all commercial soybean varieties are highly susceptible to soybean rust, and through our checkoff we will continue to search for resistance to rust,” Anderson said. “In the meanwhile, the most effective management plan for soybean rust comes from early diagnosis and treatment. Farmers should scout frequently for rust, every two to three days, and apply fungicides as needed.”

Since rust was first identified in Brazil in 2001, the soybean checkoff has cumulatively invested more than $2.7 million in rust research, including in excess of $680,000 for research in 2005. Research projects include evaluating U.S. and exotic soybean germplasm for resistance, disease management strategies, assessment of rust migration from South to North America using models that monitor and predict rust migration, and evaluation of handheld guides for “field-friendly” diagnosis of soybean rust.

The soybean checkoff also works closely with other organizations, including Qualified State Soybean Boards (QSSBs), USDA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Soybean Association (ASA) to inform farmers about the fungicide options available to protect U.S. soybeans from rust.

“While rust may be a challenge for farmers, it is important to know that there are no known human health concerns associated with soybean rust disease,” Anderson said.

The checkoff has developed two diagnostic guides that include information on rust, available through the checkoff-funded www.stopsoybeanrust.com Web site.