Asian soybean rust has reached the state of Illinois for the first time ever, found in Pope County in extreme southern Illinois Oct. 11 and confirmed today. It's the 10th state with rust this year.

On top of several rust finds in other states yesterday and today, the discovery brings the U.S. total to 120 rust-positive counties and parishes in 10 states, with 98 of those finds on soybeans. Pope County is near the rust-infected counties in eastern Kentucky, and just a bit south of the northernmost rust county, Union County, Ky.

In a news release about the find, officials said the discovery is no cause for major alarm to growers in the state.

"The arrival of rust so late in the year will have no impact on the 2006 soybean crop," said plant pathologist Suzanne Bissonnette, who serves as the soybean rust coordinator for U of I Extension. "The soybean harvest is already well underway across much of the state. Those areas that have experienced a hard frost will not be affected at all. No management actions should be undertaken by growers or commercial applicators at this time."

According to the Illinois commentary on

"Soybean rust was detected for the first time in Illinois on a sample taken Oct. 11, 2006. The find was in the extreme southern Illinois in Pope County on late group V soybeans. A soybean sample was taken from soybeans adjacent to a mature soybean plot at the University of Illinois Department of Crop Sciences Dixon Springs Agricultural Center.

"University of Illinois Plant Clinic director Nancy Pataky and Dr. Glen Hartman USDA-ARS Soybean Plant Pathologist observed the sample and sent the sample to the National Mycologist USDA-ARS in Beltsville, Md., for positive confirmation and species verification as indicated by the National protocol for handling of first soybean rust samples in a state. Confirmation of soybean rust was received Oct. 13, 2006. Adjacent counties are being sampled to determine the spread of the outbreak.

"The finding of soybean rust in southern Illinois was not unexpected," the commentary said. "Kentucky has recently reported soybean rust in eight counties adjacent to southern Illinois, and our sentinel personnel were continuing to observe the situation in Illinois. The finding of soybean rust in Illinois at this time will have NO impact on the 2006 soybean crop.

"Soybean harvest is well under way across the state. All areas of Illinois that have experienced a hard frost also will not be affected in any way. However, information on the extent of this outbreak will greatly facilitate research on soybean rust and aid in the refinement of predictive models for soybean rust. NO management actions should be undertaken by growers or commercial applicators at this time."

Guidelines for management and additional information on soybean rust are available on the U of I Crop Sciences Department's Web site.

SOURCE: Illinois commentary on and Univ. of Illinois news release.