Mississippi continues to be free of Asian soybean rust in 2008. Tom Allen, plant pathologist, Mississippi State University Extension, offered a soybean rust update at the 2008 Agronomic Crops Field Day, Delta Research and Extension Center, Stoneville, Miss.

Allen reported that Extension personnel have scouted all 82 Mississippi counties (300 unique locations) and found no trace of soybean rust in 2008.

“I can tell you without a doubt, that to date, we do not have soybean rust in the state of Mississippi.”

Allen advocates getting information on soybean rust to producers with all due speed. “If there is an infection in a field, you will know about it as fast as possible.”

According to Allen, Mississippi is the only state with three doctoral-level scientists in the field on a weekly basis — searching for soybean rust. In addition, Allen said, Mississippi is the only state that has looked for rust in every county. “We’re the only one that’s spent the time to make sure we don’t have soybean rust in every nook and cranny in the state.”

Allen is in constant contact with personnel in the field, either on location or via cell phone, gathering information on what is being found, and ensuring that ground data gets to producers quickly.

“If we need to, we’ll get that hotline ((866) 641-1847) updated as quickly as possible … it’s important that (producers) get that information as fast as possible.”

Currently, Allen says, the nearest rust threat is in Iberia Parish, La., where low levels of infection are present in a kudzu patch — less than 5 percent, and no movement has been reported.

“The only state right now that’s really seeing any production of disease spores, other than those close in Louisiana and Texas at low levels, is Florida,” said Allen. Florida has 15 counties with soybean rust infections.

e-mail: cbennett@farmpress.com