EAST AND east central Mississippi soybean and corn growers will gather on Dec. 16 at the Bost Extension Center, Mississippi State University, to take part in the first Mississippi production meeting since the recent discovery of soybean rust in the state.

Researchers and specialists discovered the fungal disease first in Louisiana on Nov. 6, then in Mississippi on Nov. 11. Most likely aided by this year's active hurricane season, soybean rust spores can be carried by wind for hundreds of miles. Left untreated, it completely defoliates and often kills a plant, reducing yields by as much as 80 percent.

In addition to a soybean rust update, producers and agriculture industry workers will review the 2004 crop and anticipate production issues for next year. The soybean discussions will cover variety selection, burndown herbicide strategies, foliar fungicides, soybean aphids, and the influence of planting dates and maturity groups on stink bugs.

The meeting's corn focus will address corn leaf blight, nitrogen management in wet fields, Roundup Ready corn, insect pest management, farm safety and issues from planting to maturity.

Mississippi State University's Extension Service is organizing the meeting with the support of several industry sponsors.

Admission is free and open to all producers and agricultural industry workers. Certified Crop Adviser credits will be offered. Advance registration is encouraged for the sponsored lunch.

To register or obtain more information on the meeting, contact Dennis Reginelli at 662-726-4326 or by e-mail at dennisr@ext.msstate.edu.