When the alarm sounded that Asian soybean rust had arrived in the continental US some years back, it was thought at that time it was going to create an economic impact on the nation’s soybean production from then on out. Well, it was much like yelling fire in a crowded theater; that simply has not been the case.
Early last week soybean rust was located in two fields in North Carolina. NC State Extension Soybean specialists Dr. Jim Dunphy explains that the rust hasn’t had much of an economic impact in the Carolinas:
“It has not been a real serious problem for us so far. We are probably far enough north that its not likely to be a serious problem frequently. We have found rust in two counties in North Carolina so far, Robinson and Johnson, not even adjacent counties. That shows the disease is fairly mobile.”
It’s long been considered that soybean rust rides tropical storms into the southeastern US, and Dunphy explains that storms don’t usually come into the Carolinas across infected fields:
“Its probably to our advantage that we do not have storms moving in the right direction to cause us trouble. The storms would need to start where there are spores, southwest of us, and then come up. Typically, our storms don’t move that way.”
Dunphy and others decided to take advantage of the situation and use the Johnston County field as a learning tool. On Friday, Dunphy, extension agents, and other interested parties met in Johnston County to learn how to identify soybean rust:
“We had ten days for it to develop in this field in Johnson County where it was identified. We want to show people what it looks like and see it under a microscope. They will learn how to confirm that it is rust.”
NC State Extension Soybean Specialist Dr. Jim Dunphy.