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Wet weather helps movement of soybean rust, other diseases

In the third week of September, with new sets of Mid-South counties and/or parishes frequently being added to the Asian soybean rust “confirmed” list, the disease is certainly worrisome for producers with late-planted soybean crops.

Many soybeans in central Arkansas' Jackson County “are still a ways away from harvest,” says Randy Chlapecka, the county Extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. “There are only a few fields ready. Most are still weeks away.”

Soybean rust was confirmed in Jackson County on Sept. 14.

“We still have some late-maturing, late-planted soybeans that are vulnerable to soybean rust. Those will probably need to be sprayed with a fungicide when the weather finally clears.”

Current wet conditions “are ideal for soybean rust,” says Jeremy Ross, Arkansas Extension soybean specialist. “Very few, if any, beans were sprayed (the week of Sept. 14). Here lately, we confirm rust in counties almost like clockwork. Pretty much the entire state has rust, now. As soon as it dries up the vulnerable beans will need to be sprayed.”

And it isn't just soybean rust that's shown up recently. Aerial blight, frogeye and other soybean diseases “were being picked up before the rust started to get going.”

In neighboring Mississippi, “it's very difficult” to go into a soybean field “and not find rust — especially in the Delta region,” says Trey Koger, Mississippi Extension soybean specialist. “Rust is pretty much everywhere.”

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