WHILE STILL awaiting lab results, Asian soybean rust has been “visually confirmed” on five Louisiana soybean samples sent to the USDA's Beltsville, Md., lab. The announcement removed any hope the disease could be confined to several Baton Rouge-area soybean fields where it was originally discovered.

“Four teams of researchers fanned out across Louisiana following the USDA/APHIS protocol to assess the Asian soybean rust situation,” said David Lanclos, Louisiana Extension soybean specialist. “Some of the collected samples were suspicious because they had lesions consistent with Asian soybean rust. Lab results of those samples should be in early next week (Nov. 15-19).”

The location of the samples is consistent with recent hurricane patterns — especially Ivan, said Lanclos.

The four research teams spanned over a 100-mile radius from Baton Rouge. Inside that radius, 56 soybean samples were taken as well as nine kudzu samples. All kudzu samples were “visually affirmed” to be clear of the rust.

In Mississippi, similar APHIS-led efforts scouted fields around Natchez. As of late Friday afternoon (Nov. 12), the disease hadn't been found in the state.

“I'm really happy about this,” said Alan Blaine, Mississippi Extension soybean specialist. “We can't find it — and, believe me, we've looked.”