BATON ROUGE, La. — On Wednesday morning (Nov. 10), USDA's APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) announced Asian soybean rust has been confirmed in two research plots near Baton Rouge.

“The first visual confirmation was made on Saturday afternoon,” says David Lanclos, Louisiana Extension soybean specialist. “I found out about this yesterday morning. I came to Baton Rouge immediately and have been here ever since.”

USDA has dispatched a “soybean rust detection assessment team,” composed of scientific experts and regulatory officials, to Baton Rouge. The assessment team will work closely with Louisiana State Department of Agriculture representatives to assess the situation and conduct surveillance around the detection site to determine the extent of the disease spread.

“We’re now just waiting for USDA/APHIS to arrive. We’re expecting them within the hour,” says Lanclos. “The LSU AgCenter will facilitate their success in any way we can. The plan currently is to scout the remaining portions of the state with unharvested soybeans. We’ll be on that for the next couple of days at least. We’ve got find out if this problem has spread or if it’s still isolated to the fields we found the rust in.

“We never wanted to hear this news. It’s years too early to be hearing Asian rust has reached our shores. I thought we’d have more time before it arrived.”

Some climatologists, says Lanclos, are saying that the high wind currents and hurricanes this fall “set us up. Right now, it’s a guessing game about how and why it got here. But it’s here now and we’ve got to deal with it.”

e-mail: dbennett@primediabusiness.com