Soybean rust only a minor problem this year

By Tom Lollis

Asian soybean rust returned to South Carolina in 2005, but it did not produce the worst case scenario, according to John Mueller, soybean pathologist at the Edisto Research and Education Center. South Carolina has about 440,000 acres of soybeans, split between full season and double-cropped.

“Yield losses will be very minimal in our full season crop,” he said. Infected plants were discovered in mid-August in Hampton and Barnwell counties, and later in Calhoun County.

Mueller, Extension agents and Meg Williamson, diagnostician at the Plant Problem Clinic, have checked samples from more than 500 fields since May. He attributed low infection rates to two factors: hot, dry weather in late summer and growers who sprayed soybeans with protective fungicides.

Also, cool spring weather slowed the growth of disease hosts. More than 90 species of legumes, including kudzu, serve as hosts for the disease, according to Clemson Regulatory Services. The risk of the disease will return early in 2006.

For information: John Mueller, 803-284-3343, ext. 223,