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Asian Soybean Rust found in Virginia, but not a threat to current crop

BLACKSBURG, Va., October 19, 2006 -- Asian Soybean Rust was detected in a commercial soybean field in Chesapeake, Va.., and in a sentinel plot Suffolk, Va., on October 14.

"Fortunately for our soybean producers in Virginia, this year's crop is out of danger," said David Holshouser, associate professor and Extension soybean specialist. "Once soybean seeds reach their full size in the pod, the crop will mature before rust affects a significant amount of leaf surface. Our May-planted crop is now being or is close to being harvested. Those soybeans planted after small grains are well on their way to maturity and should not be affected either," asserted Holshouser. Therefore, the likelihood of soybean rust reducing the Virginia yield in 2006 is almost nonexistent.

This is the first identification of the disease in Virginia since Asian Soybean Rust was first detected in the United States in 2004. The disease, which extensively reduced soybean yields in Brazil, has been confirmed this year in 15 states, including Louisiana, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Texas, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Indiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Virginia.

Visual detection was part of the weekly scouting routine conducted at various locations across the state by Virginia Tech faculty and staff, soybean growers, and volunteers.

Pat Phipps, Virginia Tech plant pathologist at the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Suffolk, Va., examined the suspect leaves collected in Chesapeake and Suffolk under a high-power stereoscope and noticed some rust-like pustules on the leaves.

"Without the stereoscope, I would have never been able to detect the fruiting bodies," said Phipps. Not only did the detection of the disease require microscopic observation, the incidence was very low. "The Chesapeake sample of 100-plus leaflets showed only seven leaflets with pustules, which ranged from one per lea
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Contact: Lori Greiner
lgreiner@vt.edu
540-231-5863
Virginia Tech
19-Oct-2006


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