Emerging Soybean Rust Threat Addressed By Impact Specialists

Soybean rust is a disease that was first discovered in the U.S. in 2004, and poses a serious threat to soybean production. The industry is especially concerned because of severe yield losses from this disease in Africa and South America and its recent spread throughout the southeastern U.S. and as far north as Canada, with some areas suffering high yield losses. Because the SBR pathogen is distributed by airborne spores, the disease can travel long distances quickly (Mexico and Caribbean islands harbor sources of the fungus even though below freezing winter temperatures kill off the disease in the U.S.). This potential for rapid spread calls for multistate, multidisciplinary coordination in order to respond rapidly to outbreaks and implement longterm strategies to prevent an epidemic.

Impact researcher have has been instrumental in building relationships among researchers, soybean growers, industry associations, and international partners in Canada and Mexico into mobilizing regional resources to provide a structured, efficient response to the emerging SBR threat. They’ve also closely tracked the disease using a network of over 2,300 “sentinel prots” and creating maps and models to predict where SBR is likely to occur. In addition the researchers have assisted with registering a new class of fungicides, testing their efficacy and determining proper amounts and timing to prevent disease-related yield losses; while simultaneously working to create disease-resistant soybean lines.

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