New booklet speaks volumes about soybean rust

June 7, 2005: A new booklet developed by Purdue University Extension does for soybean growers what CliffsNotes does for literature students. "Preparing for Asian Soybean Rust" covers the foliar disease from initial infection to yield loss prevention -- all in a handy, 15-page volume.

The booklet is available through county offices of Purdue Extension and Purdue's Media Distribution Center. Farmers also can order and download the publication online.
"Preparing for Asian Soybean Rust" is loaded with color photographs and instructions for submitting leaf samples to Purdue's Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory for rust analysis, said Shawn Conley, Purdue Extension soybean specialist and one of the publication's authors.

"What we were trying to develop was a small, all-inclusive publication that growers can take to the field and determine whether their crop might have soybean rust," Conley said. "We've also included the steps to follow if growers suspect they have Asian soybean rust in their fields."
Although the booklet is small it doesn't skimp on important details, Conley said. "This publication takes into account the soybean plant itself -- the agronomic aspects; disease management -- the pathology aspects; and the economic side, such as crop insurance," he said. "Those points are laid out in a concise, but precise, manner."

Thumbing through the booklet is easy. Color-coded tabs take the reader right to the seven main sections:

"What is Asian soybean rust?"
"What does it look like?"
"How does it spread?"
"How can it be managed?"
"How should fungicides be used?"
"Can cultural practices help? -- Will crop insurance cover my losses?"
"What if I suspect I have soybean rust? -- Where can I find more information?"

Much of the booklet's content is based on the soybean rust experiences of South American farmers, said Greg Shaner, a Purdue Extension plant pathologist and contributing writer.
Soybean growers in the continental U.S. have never faced a rust threat. The disease was first detected in southern states this past November.

"In this publication we attempted to bring together our best estimates of how this disease is going to develop and how the pathogen will behave here," Shaner said. "It was written with an emphasis on soybean here in the Midwest but certainly is applicable across the Corn Belt and even points further north.

"Because we haven't yet gone through a growing season with the disease, we're relying on what we know about other rust diseases on small grains and corn. We're also relying on what people in Brazil and Africa have dealt with."

Shaner and Conley have seen rust impact firsthand.

"Shawn and I went to Brazil in mid-February, specifically to look at soybean rust," Shaner said. "Much of what we saw there, in terms of symptoms and recognition of the pathogen, when it arrives here, we'll see the same sorts of things."

Several soybean rust photographs from the Brazil trip appear in the booklet.

Others who contributed content and/or photos for the publication included Corinne Alexander, Craig Dobbins, Chris Hurt and George Patrick, Purdue Extension agricultural economists; Ellsworth Christmas, Purdue Extension agronomist; Karen Rane and Gail Ruhl, Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory; Alvaro Almeida, Embrapa Soja, Londrina, Brazil; and Kevin Black, GROWMARK. The Indiana Soybean Board provided financial support for the printing costs.

Single copies of "Preparing for Asian Soybean Rust" -- Purdue Extension Publication ID-324 -- are free and available at county offices of Purdue Extension. Bulk orders are available in packages of 25 for $5 by logging onto the Purdue Extension Education Store at , or by contacting the Media Distribution Center. To reach the Media Distribution Center or for the Extension office near you, call the toll-free Purdue Extension hotline at 1-888-398-4636 (EXT-INFO).

The booklet also can be downloaded online by logging onto .

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