A lot of farmers and other ag professionals have spent the winter talking about soybean rust. Iowa State University agronomist Clark McGrath says it’s easy to understand why they’re so concerned about a new crop disease that’s not even here yet. In countries that have hasd soybean rust and left it untreated, farmers lost anywhere between 20 and 100-percent of their crop. But while farmers here are right to have some concern, he says agronomists don’t expect that kind of loss if and when the disease arrives here. McGrath and other crop professionals are working on spreading public awareness of the approaching disease ahead of time. He says last fall it was found in southeastern states and it’s survived the winter in Florida. We know the disease is in the US but the spores still haven’t arrived in the Midwest, he explains. Even when they do “blow in,” he says there’s no certainty that they’ll find the right weather conditions to flourish…though he says there’s little argument that sometime in the next five years we’ll be fighting rust. He says with the use of the right fungicide chemicals, farmers should still be able to raise crops.
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