Soybean rust warning system cuts treatment costs in half

By Tom Lollis

soybeansSoybean growers concerned about Asian soybean rust depend on an early warning system set up by Clemson scientists for advice on when to spray fungicides to protect the state’s 435,000-acre crop.

“The system has worked well,” said John Mueller, plant pathologist at the Edisto Research and Education Center. Clemson established 15 sentinel plots of early maturity soybeans from the Coastal Plain to the Piedmont, putting every soybean grower in the state within 50 miles of an early warning plot.

By late September rust had been found in 13 counties: Anderson, Barnwell, Calhoun, Colleton, Darlington, Dorchester, Edgefield, Florence, Hampton, Horry, Lee, Orangeburg and Sumter. At least 100,000 acres have received fungicides at a cost of about $10 an acre.

“Yield losses should be at a minimum,” said Mueller. He estimates that one-third to one-half of the state’s soybeans will be sprayed once. “Two years ago we were afraid everybody would have to spray twice. So, with the sentinel plots, we have cut rust control costs in half.”

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