Asian Soybean Rust Disease Confirmed On Kudzu In Louisiana

Clayton Hollier, Padgett, Guy B., Schneider, Raymond W., Lanclos, David Y., Benedict, Linda F.  |  7/1/2006 4:41:17 AM

News Release Distributed 06/30/06

LSU AgCenter scientists confirmed on Friday (June 30) that Asian soybean rust is in Louisiana. This is the first finding of the disease for 2006, and it was found on kudzu, another plant besides soybeans susceptible to the disease.

Agricultural consultant Blaine Viator of Plattenville, La., found the disease in a shaded kudzu patch just south of Lafayette, La. He is one of many consultants, farmers and AgCenter agents and scientists who have been regularly scouting for the disease ever since it was found for the first time in Louisiana, in fact in North America, in late 2004 by AgCenter scientist Dr. Ray Schneider.

"This finding means we have to intensify our scouting efforts," said Dr. Clayton Hollier, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist. "It does not mean that farmers have to start applying fungicides to their soybean crops. The disease has not been found on soybeans in Louisiana."

The disease, which has the potential to devastate soybean yields because of its ability to spread fast, was confirmed on soybeans in Alabama on Thursday, June 29, Hollier said. Scouting efforts are under way throughout the United States, and Asian soybean rust has been confirmed on kudzu in at least four other states this year – Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Texas.

"Under the very dry conditions that the beans are experiencing in Louisiana, Asian soybean rust development is nearly impossible. The amount of time dew is present in open areas is minimal, and the extended exposure to ultraviolet light kills the rust spores quickly," Hollier said. "Current dry conditions do not encourage disease development."

However, this will change with rain, and scattered showers are predicted during the first week of July, Hollier said.

"This could encourage rust development," Hollier said.

AgCenter experts are not at this time recommending that soybean farmers apply fungicides, which are relatively expensive, as a preventive measure for Asian soybean rust. Even if the disease is found in soybeans, the recommendation is to apply fungicide only to the fields where the beans are forming, Hollier said.

"Roughly 50 percent to 60 percent of the soybean crop in Louisiana will be at a stage in two weeks where it will no longer be threatened by Asian soybean rust," said Dr. David Lanclos, LSU AgCenter soybean specialist at the Dean Lee Research Station in Alexandria.

In addition to extensive scouting of soybean fields and kudzu patches, LSU AgCenter scientists have established 15 sentinel plots of soybeans throughout the state that are regularly checked for signs of rust.

Dr. Boyd Padgett, AgCenter plant pathologist at the Northeast Research Station in St. Joseph, has also set up a system of spore traps in northeast and central Louisiana to monitor the air for any signs of the spores that cause the disease.

Padgett said soybean farmers can call a toll-free number for any updates about Asian soybean rust, and that number is (800) 516-0865.


Clayton Hollier at (225) 578-4487 or
Ray Schneider at (225) 578-4880 or
Boyd Padgett at (318) 435-2157 or
David Lanclos at (318) 473-6530
Linda Foster Benedict at (225) 578-2937 or

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