Don't Panic About Soybean Rust, Mississippi Officials Say
Nov. 20STARKVILLE, Miss. Despite news earlier this week that Asian soybean rust has been found in Mississippi,
agriculture officials say area farmers should stay calm.
The potentially destructive fungus was found in one field in Adams County, a week after it was confirmed in Louisiana. The
Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce announced its finding Wednesday, as did Florida officials.
The winds from Hurricane Ivan and other hurricanes are blamed for having introduced the fungus to the U.S.
"Do not panic. That's the main message right now," said Billy Moore, plant pathologist emeritus with Mississippi State
University's Extension Service. "We do have rust, and yes, we can do something about rust. If they can do something about
rust in South America and Africa, we can, too."
Moore said its arrival at the end of the growing season gives scientists and producers all winter to plan the course of
action. A main tool in the upcoming fight will be another round of sentinel plots, or fields of soybeans planted well ahead
of any normal planting date and aligned across the state. Weather permitting, Moore said these will be planted March 1.
"We'll monitor these at least once a week, perhaps even more. We'll also monitor soybean fields once farmers start planting,"
he said. "If we find rust, we'll trigger fungicide applications in our soybeans."
Early planted varieties should give growers an advantage in the fight against soybean rust. The fungus cannot overwinter in
much of the country, which means it must move in from southern regions each year. Early soybeans might be able to stay in
large part ahead of the disease each year.
Alan Blaine, extension soybean specialist, said the only thing producers can do now is wait.
"We're gathering additional information every day," he said. "We have all winter to keep folks tuned to what they need to do.
They probably will hear a lot of mistruths, so they should stay tuned to what's coming out of local universities that are
working with state departments of agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and APHIS."
Alan Henn, Extension plant pathologist, said he and MDAC representatives submitted paperwork earlier this year to the
Environmental Protection Agency seeking a special use exemption for certain fungicides that battle rust.
Mississippi was one of a group of states that applied together for these permits.
"The approvals for these have been dribbling in over the summer. As EPA gets their data, everyone who applied gets the
special use exemption," Henn said.
To date, the state can use approved Section 18 exemption materials, including propiconazole, sold as Tilt and Propimax EC;
tebuconazole, sold as Folicur; and myclobutanil, sold as Laredo EC. Henn said the state still awaits exemption to use a
fungicide mix of propiconazole and trifloxystrobin, sold as Stratego.
Other fungicides that have soybean rust on their regular labeling include azoxystrobin, sold as Quadris, and chlorothalonil,
sold as Echo. BASF expects their active ingredient, pyraclostrobin, sold as Headline, to receive full label status by
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© 2004, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo, Miss. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.