On November 10, 2004, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship announced that Asian soybean rust has been confirmed near Baton Rouge, LA. The fields where the rust was found are located on research farms belonging to Louisiana State University. No information was given on the stage of plant growth in the fields. Most of the commercial fields in Louisiana have been harvested. X.B. Yang, Iowa State University plant pathologist, is one of the leading experts in the world and has flown down to Louisiana as a member of the USDA soybean rust detection assessment team to evaluate the rust outbreak.
Because most of the soybeans in Iowa are fully mature or have been harvested, Asian soybean rust will not affect soybean yields in 2004. In addition, soybean rust spores cannot overwinter in Iowa, so rust infestations in the 2005 growing season will only develop if the spores blow up from the southern United States in the spring or summer. The highest priority now for growers and those who advise growers is to become informed about the soybean rust disease cycle and symptoms of the disease.
For the past two years, the Iowa Soybean Rust Team has worked to develop a plan to respond to the introduction of Asian soybean rust into the United States. Team members represent Iowa State University, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Iowa Soybean Association/Iowa Soybean Promotion Board, and the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. During the 2004 growing season, the team trained a network of professional agronomists in Iowa to recognize early symptoms of rust infection and respond to it quickly. These trained individuals are called Asian soybean rust First Detectors. Certified Crop Advisers and Certified Professional
Agronomists who want to become First Detectors but were unable to attend one of the First Detector training sessions in July can attend a make-up session on December 3 (see the announcement for this training opportunity on page 133). Iowa State University Extension will share more details about this network at numerous winter meetings including county Pesticide Applicator training, the ICM Conference, and the Crop Advantage Series meetings.
This article originally appeared on page 129 of the IC-492(22) -- November 15, 2004 issue.