The first soybean rust of 2006 was detected on two kudzu patches in the city of Montgomery, Ala., yesterday, Jan. 12. Montgomery is approximately 125 miles north of the Florida Gulf Coast.

According to Ed Sikora, professor and Extension plant pathologist with Auburn University, most of the two patches were dormant, but the remaining green foliage was infected with the disease.

One patch was in a protected site on the north side of an underpass off of Interstate 85, while the other patch was hanging in a tree along a bluff of the Alabama River. This is the first report of soybean rust in Montgomery County. Soybean rust has been detected in 34 counties in Alabama since June 2005, and this is the 22nd rust-infected kudzu patch identified in the state.

There were 138 U.S. counties found to have soybean rust in calendar year 2005. This is the first reported U.S. rust find in the new year.

SOURCE: Alabama state commentary on