Clemson helps soybean growers fight rust

By Tom Lollis

soybean rowClemson scientists will keep a close watch for signs of Asian Soybean Rust this year, a disease that could cause extensive crop damage for growers if left unchecked.
       
South Carolina growers harvested 420,000 acres of soybeans in 2005, worth about $48 million. They spent at least $500,000 spraying fungicides for rust, based on signs of the disease detected in sentinel plots planted under the direction of John Mueller, plant pathologist at Edisto Research and Education Center.
       
Mueller said that 15 sentinel plots established around the state for this growing season will put every soybean grower within 50 miles of a monitoring site. Growers will be advised to spray only if rust is detected in the area and beans are flowering.
       
The state Department of Agriculture, Farm Bureau and Soybean Board honored Mueller and David Howle of Clemson Regulatory Services for their efforts protecting the crop last year. Mueller expects more rust this year than last but says that growers should come out all right if they keep track of developments through the USDA website at www.sbrusa.net and through his electronic newsletter. To subscribe, e-mail jmllr@clemson.edu.
       
For more information: or John Mueller, 803-284-3343, ext. 223, jmllr@clemson.edu, or
www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/pp/notes/Soybean/soy008/soy008.htm