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State remains soybean rust-free

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Mississippi remains completely free of soybean rust, and conditions as of June 30 were not favorable for the development of the disease.

Tom Allen, plant pathologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said soybean rust recently has been detected in the United States in southern Texas, outside Mobile, Ala., and in the Florida Panhandle.

“Over the past few weeks, conditions throughout most of Mississippi have not been conducive for the development of the disease,” Allen said.

MSU’s Extension Service has 25 sentinel plots throughout the state. They were planted before April 2 to detect the first signs of rust if it occurs in the state this year. The Extension Service soybean rust scouting team examines sentinel plots, along with commercial soybean fields and kudzu patches, for signs of the disease.

Sentinel plots are planted earlier than the commercial soybean crop and monitored weekly throughout the growing season for soybean rust. When rust is detected, MSU Extension personnel alerts area growers and provides suggestions for appropriate treatment if necessary.

Allen said, “In recent years, soybean rust has been detected in several states by June, but cold conditions throughout the winter likely eradicated much, if not all, of the fungus responsible for causing soybean rust in the Gulf Coast states.”

Mississippi had significant rust in all 82 counties in 2009, but only one soybean field left untreated had excessive losses due to the disease.

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