USDA today confirmed Asian soybean rust was present in soybean samples from a field near Quincy, Fla. The confirmation means the disease has now been found in three states, including Louisiana and Mississippi.

“Last week, when I heard Louisiana had confirmed soybean rust I thought, ‘Well, if they’ve got it chances are we do too,’” says David Wright, Extension agronomist with the University of Florida. “It just made sense that if the hurricanes brought it in we had to have it too. We don’t know which hurricane actually brought it in but we suspect Ivan.”

The rust was found last Monday by plant pathologists scouting a Group 5 research field on the North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy.

“There were some suspicious symptoms on some of the plants we looked at,” says Wright. “Our lab identified spores on some pulled samples so we immediately sent those off to the USDA lab. They let us know quickly that we had it.”

Pathologists also searched kudzu – another host of the rust – living near the infected soybeans. Although not infected to the extent of the soybeans, they did find rust on the invasive species of vine.

The infected field was planted the first week of July. “It was double-cropped and we had quite a bit of rain in June, so that pushed the planting date back. It had some research plots harvested out of it and yields were respectable so no red flags were raised from that.”

Wright says the infected plants were found on row ends that deer had been grazing on. “Due to that, there was some regrowth and it was on those green leaves that we found the lesions. It was very important to have that regrowth, actually. Without it, all that we’d have had to look at were dried leaves on the ground.”

e-mail: dbennett@primediabusiness.com