In response to the discovery of soybean rust in the U.S., plant pathologists are offering an opportunity to learn more about this disease at a symposium held during the annual meeting of The American Phytopathological Society (APS), July 30 – August 3, 2005 in Austin, TX.
"This is the first year that farmers in the U.S. are facing soybean rust and we have a lot of questions that need to be resolved," said Vince Morton, soybean rust symposium organizer and president of Viva, Inc., Greensboro, NC. "The key is to keep soybean rust from becoming an epidemic and to prevent large crop losses. In order to accomplish this, plant pathologists and farmers need to become knowledgeable about how the disease is adapting to the U.S. weather and environment," Morton said.
Soybean rust is a fungal disease of soybean that has severely affected soybean crops in Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America. In some areas, soybean rust has caused yield losses of up to 80 percent. In November 2004, plant pathologists discovered soybean rust for the first time in the continental U.S. near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Soybean rust is identified by tiny, volcano-like, raised pustules with rust spores inside that appear on the underside of leaves of infected plants. As rust severity increases, premature defoliation and early maturation of plants is common.
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