An Iowa team is developing an action plan to prepare for and respond to a new soybean disease. The Iowa Soybean Rust Team members represent Iowa State University, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Iowa Soybean Association/Iowa Soybean Promotion Board and the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Greg Tylka, a plant pathologist at Iowa State, said the team's goal is to keep farmers, crop consultants, extension specialists and researchers informed on how to spot the disease, where to take samples for accurate identification and how to minimize yield loss.
"We want to alleviate fears and let the public know there are well-trained people working on this potential problem. We have an effective and geographically widespread system to check for soybean rust," Tylka said.
Since Asian soybean rust is not present in the United States, few researchers have had the opportunity to study the disease first hand. Iowa State has two researchers with expertise who are monitoring the movement of the fungus, developing weather-based models to predict when and where rust could occur and analyzing where the disease could survive over the winter.
"We are developing an effective system to diagnose and monitor for soybean rust," Tylka said.
A system is being formed in Iowa whereby soybean samples that are suspected of possibly being infected with soybean rust would be examined and passed through a sequence of trained personnel to offer Iowa soybean growers rapid and accurate identification of the disease, if it should appear.
Fifteen hundred certified crop advisers (CCA), certified professional agronomists (CP Ag), and independent crop consultants are being recruited to serve as "First Detectors" for soybean rust in Iowa. "First Detectors" will receive training on identifying Asian soybean rust and distinguishing it from other commonly occurring soybean diseases.
Five training sessions for First Detectors are being held July 6 - 9. The training will include an explanation of Iowa's overall plan to respond to Asian soybean rust as well as specific information about the accurate identification of soybean rust. Three CCA Continuing Education Units (CEUs) in the Pest Management category will be earned for participating in the training
A multi-state (including Iowa) distance educational event, titled "Soybean Rust: Issues and Facts," will be held on June 29. This event is designed for anyone involved in soybean production and will include basic information about Asian soybean rust biology and management. CCA CEUs will be offered for this regional event, but participating in this event will not qualify individuals to be a First Detector in the system being organized by the Iowa Soybean Rust Team. To qualify as a First Detector, CCA, CP Ag and independent crop consultants must attend one of the July training sessions. To learn more about "Soybean Rust: Issues & Facts" and to find a location near you see the website.
This article originally appeared on page 75 of the IC-492(12) -- June 21, 2004 issue.