Midwestern growers don’t worry much about soybean rust
The fungal disease has been popping up at the end of the growing season nearly every year since 2006, but because the fungus can’t survive winter without a host plant, it’s not much of a threat to Midwest crops under current conditions.
Right now, the disease only impacts U.S. soybean growers in the frost-free south, and only over-winters in parts of the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean basin.
“But if the frost-free zone were to expand northward sometime in the future, there would be a greater potential for soybean rust to impact Midwestern growers,” said Glen Hartman, plant pathologist in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois and crop pathologist for USDA-ARS.
Even though the major soybean-producing region in the United States is currently safe, Hartman and his collaborators aren’t willing to let the ball drop on soybean rust.
“We’d like to stay ahead of the game by knowing more about the pathogen and whether strains of the fungus can overcome soybean rust resistance genes,” he said.