As of May 18, soybean rust has not been found in any sentinel plots, including the 22 sentinel plots in Alabama — a primary watch state for movement of disease causing spores.
“So far the disease hasn’t even moved in the kudzu patches that we are monitoring,” notes Auburn University Plant Pathologist Ed Sikora.
On May 18, Sikora checked kudzu patches and found only seven lesions in five patches. Soybean rust over-wintered in kudzu as far north as Montgomery, Ala., but the Auburn scientist says as of mid-May the virus just hasn’t moved at all.
Soybean rust can move as much as 100 miles a day, if weather conditions are perfect. However, Sikora says last year movement of 100 yards a day was more the norm. “We found the first soybean rust in the field on June 30 last year, but it was on up into August and September before we saw much movement,” Sikora explains.
“We definitely have more inoculant this year than last year, so the potential for more disease is there. Growers need to be diligent in monitoring the USDA soybean rust Web site — http://www.usda.gov/soybeanrust/  — to track new movement of the disease,” Sikora stresses. “If we have a wet summer, the chances of the disease spreading rapidly are much greater,” he adds.
Sikora is one of several rust watchers who contribute information to the USDA Web site on a regular basis. Sikora also manages a soybean rust hotline for growers. The Auburn University rust hotline number is 1-800-446-0388.