Time to dust off the soybean rust listserv. I promised to send a few messages each year, regardless of the threat of soybean rust, so here I am delivering on my promise.
It seems absurd to even be thinking about soybean rust in a year when we are merely hoping for rain. However, soybean rust has passed the first few hurdles for getting to the Midwest – surviving the winter and building up inoculum. So far in 2012, soybean rust has been reported in 27 counties in U.S. States including Alabama (6), Florida (8), Georgia (8), Louisiana (2), Texas (2), and Mississippi (1), as well as 13 reports from Mexico. At this time last year soybean rust was only detected in three counties in Florida.
Soybean rust is a legitimate threat to soybean farmers in the southern states for the 2012 season. The hot, dry weather across the U.S. includes the Midwest and should limit movement northward. But any moisture, which would be quite welcome, can change that quickly. An indicator that rust pathogens can move from southern states quickly can be gleaned from the recent reports ofsouthern rust in corn in Iowa and Nebraska.