Officials Share Knowledge About Asian Soybean Rust

Linda Benedict, Chaney, John A., Lanclos, David Y.  |  4/22/2005 1:23:38 AM

News Release Distributed 03/10/05

ALEXANDRIA – LSU AgCenter soybean specialist Dr. David Lanclos and others shared information about the effects of Asian soybean rust on the crop in Brazil during a Farm Bureau Federation meeting held at the Rapides Parish Extension Center last week (March 4).

Eight officials from Louisiana joined representatives from other states last month on a trip to study the situation in Brazil. The trip was designed to help them learn about the effects Asian soybean rust has had on the crop there and to develop plans to reduce the potential impact on the crop in this state.

Asian soybean rust has been around since the early part of the 20th century, but it had been confined to Asia until recently – when it spread to Africa and then on to South America. It was first discovered in the Western Hemisphere in Brazil in 2000 and the first sighting in North America came this past fall. The airborne spores are believed to have been picked up by hurricane winds and transported to several states across the southern United States.

Those who went to Brazil on the study tour included Lanclos and four other experts from the LSU AgCenter, as well as a soybean farmer and an agricultural consultant.

"It is a serious problem that needs to be emphasized," Lanclos said during the March 4 presentation, adding, "We will plant sentinel plots of soybeans at research stations in the state to help detect rust at the earliest possible time."

Sentinel plots will be planted earlier than traditional soybean varieties and will be scouted often by research teams for the rust.

"If rust is discovered in a plot, we will get the news out to farmers so they can prepare to counter the impact of the disease," he said.

Farmers are encouraged to scout their soybeans several times a week when the plant growth is between flowering and bean development.

"It is important to check for rust in the lower third of the plant where it first appears," said Ray Schexnayder, a soybean farmer from Pointe Coupee Parish and member of the Soybean Promotion Board, who participated in the Brazil trip.

Rust first shows up as lesions on the stems and

leaves in the lower part of the plant. To identify the lesions, suspected leaves should be held toward a bright light source, which should allow observers to make an initial identification of the disease. Then a professional can use a hand lens to look for raised pustules on the leaf surface, the experts say.

"The identification of Asian soybean rust is difficult and should be confirmed by a professional," said Lanclos.

Research personnel will pick a few leaves from the lower part of the plant, place them in a plastic bag and closely monitor the samples for rust infestation.

Company officials from independent grain elevators in Brazil report losses resulting from Asian soybean rust to be about 31 percent of the total yield.

More than $200 million was returned to the state’s economy by the production of soybeans in 2003, and preliminary figures show economic impact of $241 million in 2004, according to the Louisiana Summary of Agriculture and Forestry published by the LSU AgCenter.

The severity of rust is worse when night temperatures are between 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and the leaves of the plant are continually damp.

"Now that we have witnessed the devastation rust caused to the crop in Brazil and visited with a world authority on the subject, the team will be available to help farmers fight the disease in the state," Lanclos said.

In addition to Lanclos, participants touring Brazil from the LSU AgCenter included Dr. Boyd Padgett, a plant pathologist; Dr. Matt Baur, an entomologist; Dr. Ray Schneider, a plant pathologist; Keith Normand, a county agent from St. Landry Parish; and Allen Hogan, a county agent from Jefferson Davis Parish.

For more information on Asian soybean rust, producers are urged to contact David Lanclos at (318) 473-6530 or visit www.lsuagcenter.com and click on the Soybean Rust link featured on that page.

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Contact:   David Lanclos at (318) 473-6530 or dlanclos@agcenter.lsu.edu
Writer:     John Chaney at (318) 473-6589 or jchaney@agcenter.lsu.edu

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