To date, no soybean rust has been detected in Mississippi, writes Tom Allen in the latest Mississippi State University Extension Service Crop Situation newsletter.

“However,” continues Allen, Mississippi Extension plant pathologist, “over the past three weeks, soybean rust has been detected on kudzu in Mobile, Ala., and on kudzu in two counties in Florida with the most recent detection being north of Tampa.

“In addition, last week, soybean rust was confirmed from soybean sentinel plot samples collected from Baldwin and Escambia counties in south Alabama in late June. The soybeans ranged from R4 to R5 and low levels of soybean rust were detected after several days of incubation in the laboratory.

“For the past several weeks, weather conditions in Mississippi have not been conducive for the development of soybean rust. However, this could change at any time depending on future environmental conditions.

“Based on the information from Alabama and Florida it appears that while soybean rust was eliminated from many overwintering sites along the Gulf Coast there may have been some overwintering farther south in Florida, at a location in the Gulf of Mexico, or somewhere in the Caribbean.

“Additionally, over the past week I’ve had numerous questions about the potential of Hurricane Alex having distributed soybean rust spores into Mississippi. Based on the predictive models that have been produced over the past few weeks from a group in Pennsylvania and Iowa it does not appear likely that soybean rust spores were transported to Mississippi on the winds associated with the hurricane or the remnants of the tropical storm once the hurricane reached land.

“The Mississippi State University Extension Soybean Rust Monitoring Team — sponsored this year by the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board and the North Central Soybean Research Program — continues to scout kudzu and soybeans throughout Mississippi. The 25 sentinel plots are monitored weekly in addition to numerous locations containing kudzu as well as commercial soybeans.

“However, with soybean rust now confirmed in neighboring states we will intensify scouting throughout Mississippi over the next few weeks to verify the absence or presence of the disease. The most current information is available on the Web at http://www.sbrusa.net and on the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board- and BASF-sponsored soybean rust telephone hotline (866) 641-1847. Please remember this is a free telephone call.”

To view the newsletter, Mississippi Crop Situation.