State agriculture officials say a potentially devastating soybean disease has been confirmed in Iowa for the first time. Ag Department spokesman, Caleb Hunter, says Asian soybean rust has been confirmed in plant material.
Hunter says the soybean rust was found on some plant residue in some grain bins in central Iowa and was confirmed in testing at the U.S.D.A., Michigan State University and Iowa State University. The fungus that can hurt soybean yield has been found mainly spread in the Gulf Coast states, but late last year also surfaced in Illinois, Indiana, and Virginia.
Hunter says the confirmation of the rust in Iowa should not raise major concern. Hunter says the deep freeze in Iowa should have killed off the rust, and if the rust is going to impact the 2007 crop, it will have to move in again during the spring and summer. Hunter says confirming Asian soybean rust is not a surprise.
Hunter says: “It was certainly something that we wanted to be prepared for, obviously not something we were hoping we would find. Because this is a pretty nasty disease and soybean producers have heard and seen what this can do to their yields. Not completely unexpected, but certainly unwelcomed.” Hunter says the state will continue looking to see if the rust can be found in other grain from 2006. He says farmers need to be aware, but not overreact.
Hunter says producers should continue keeping an eye on areas that might be vulnerable to soybean rust, and consult with extension specialist. He says you shouldn’t “panic and run out and buy every soybean fungicide that’s available.” Hunter says producers can consult with the Iowa Soybean Rust Team First Detectors team if they observe plants that they suspect might have soybean rust. There is no charge to consult with these First Detectors .