Drought stalls soybean rust in Southeast

Tropical storm Alberto brought relief to parts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina that have been plagued by a late spring drought. Though the tropical moisture may cause some movement in soybean rust, as of June 14, no rust had been reported in sentinel plots. (That changed on June 15 when soybean rust was reported in a sentinel plot in Martin County, Fla.)

Like last year rust is present in some kudzu patches in Alabama, Florida, and southern Georgia, but no rust has been found on kudzu in the Carolinas. Auburn University researcher Ed Sikora notes that no movement has been detected in kudzu patches in which rust spores over-wintered as far north as Montgomery, Ala.

Extensive scouting of plots in north and south Georgia on June 9, showed no evidence of soybean rust. Areas of south Georgia adjacent to the Florida state line showed no movement of soybean rust.

Clemson University researcher John Mueller says South Carolina monitoring, or sentinel sites are set in numerous counties. “We have one or more monitoring plots in 16 counties, Mueller says.

Clemson researchers will sample plots in the Savannah Valley on a weekly basis and in plots farther north in South Carolina on a biweekly basis until the plots flower. Then all plots will be sampled on a weekly basis during the critical early flowering period.

As of mid-June some very early planted Maturity Group III and IV soybeans in the southern part of the state were known to be flowering. Mueller notes researchers are watching these sites very closely. e-mail: [email protected]

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