The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service today confirmed the presence of soybean rust on soybean leaf samples taken November 6 from two plots associated with a Louisiana State University research farm.

With harvest now complete, it is unknown whether the disease will be found again next season or in any other U.S regions. However, the find increases concern about the potential damage the disease could cause. Rust can spread via airborne spores and has the potential to spread to other U.S. soybean-growing areas.

Although scientists believe that rust cannot survive freezing temperatures, they fear that if rust becomes established in southern U.S. states, the spores could ride seasonal Gulf winds deep into the Midwest. Disease severity each year could vary substantially according to wind patterns, host susceptibility and humid weather that favors disease development. Fungicides can limit yield loss if the disease is discovered in its early stages.

In Brazil, government officials estimate that soybean rust caused $2 billion in losses for farmers and contributed to a drop in Brazil's 2003–2004 soybean harvest to 49.8 million tons from an expected 58 million tons.

For more information, including soybean rust alerts, scouting and Section 18 fungicides, visit the following resource link: farmindustrynews.com/special_reports/Soybean-Rust-060904.