Asian Soybean Rust Found On Kudzu In Amite

Clayton Hollier  |  12/8/2005 4:37:31 AM

News Release Distributed 12/07/05

LSU AgCenter officials say Asian soybean rust has been found on kudzu collected in Tangipahoa Parish by Dr. Billy Bond, a plant pathologist on the faculty of Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.

Dr. Clayton Hollier, a member of the faculty in the LSU AgCenter’s Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology, said the plant material came from a kudzu patch in the town of Amite on Nov. 18. The United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed on Nov. 30 that the sample contained Asian soybean rust.

"This was the first find of Asian soybean rust on kudzu in the state," Hollier said in early December.

In addition to this discovery, earlier in November Dr. Ray Schneider, an LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, found Asian soybean rust in a field near Baton Rouge for the first time since the disease was identified in Louisiana in 2004.

With Louisiana’s soybean crop harvested, farmers don’t have to worry about the disease this year, experts said.

The first discovery of the plant disease in the United States was made in Louisiana in November 2004, and, after studying the original sites and others where it was found, officials said it had been brought in from South America on the winds of one of the summer’s storms.

Since the original discovery last year, Asian soybean rust was found for the first time in 2005 on kudzu in central Florida in February. The potentially devastating disease later spread north through Florida and into Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina – bringing with it significant economic costs to soybean growers.

LSU AgCenter pathologists agree the disease, which lives on a variety of plants, probably overwintered in areas of Florida where temperatures didn’t drop low enough to kill the host plants.

"If it gets cold enough, the host will die," said Hollier. "Last year, we had a freeze all the way to the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, so the spores didn’t survive the winter in Louisiana."

Hollier said the soybean plant is the preferred host for the disease, and kudzu appears to be the second choice. But scientists have identified 95 plants on which Asian soybean rust can live.

Schneider said the disease didn’t aggressively spread west of Alabama in 2005 because of dry conditions through the Mississippi Valley from Louisiana to Illinois.

"Because of the way the disease spread in the Southeast, had we had the same growing conditions as the Southeast during the season, we might have had the problem in Louisiana," Hollier said.

The plant pathologists said the LSU AgCenter will monitor 10 plots of volunteer soybeans or kudzu during the upcoming winter to watch for Asian soybean rust and will plant 15 sentinel soybean plots next spring.

Hollier said the LSU AgCenter and sister institutions in other states will be monitoring sentinel plots and commercial soybean fields for Asian soybean rust "to be ready to deal with it, to tell growers what to do and how to do it.

"We’re all trying to do our part to help the growers," he added.

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Contacts:
Clayton Hollier at (225) 578-4487 or chollier@agcenter.lsu.edu
Ray Schneider at (225) 578-4880 or rschneider@agcenter.lsu.edu
Writer:
Rick Bogren at (225) 578-5839 or rbogren@agcenter.lsu.edu

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