GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Syngenta Crop Protection is refining its Syntinel(TM) RustTracker system that proved effective for tracking spores and rust during the 2005 growing season.

Syngenta originally developed and implemented rust-tracking technology in Brazil in 2003. Using Geographic Information System (GIS), RustTracker combines spore trap data with wind and weather data from in a series of maps on

New enhancements to Syntinel RustTracker will make it the source of the most comprehensive soybean rust information ever available. Based on data from the spore trap system, this computerized soybean rust tracking system will contain two new layers of imagery for the 2006 season.

First, the system will add a Crop Infrared Imagery layer, which will contain images taken from space every 48 to 72 hours and will allow users a bird's eye view of a field to quickly check soybean health. The second new layer takes the infrared imagery a step further by highlighting canopy differences. Images will show defoliation and monitor crop vigor to help determine the best time to scout.

"Using the two new layers on Syntinel RustTracker will really put growers at an advantage when monitoring their soybeans throughout the growing season," said Marty Wiglesworth, a technical fungicide brand manager at Syngenta. "Syntinel RustTracker is the only system that has this new technology." Existing maps will also be updated to simplify map functions.

In addition to updates within the Syntinel RustTracker mapping system, Syngenta will put more of its Syntinel spore traps in plots earlier this year.

"We'd like to have traps in sentinel plots and deployed in the south by the beginning of March so we can track the earliest signs of soybean rust spores," said Wiglesworth. "We'll also be paying close attention to the possibility of rust lasting through the winter on kudzu."

These Syngenta-exclusive traps can detect spores in the air before they infect plants -- sometimes 20 to 30 days prior to infection. Once collected, spore trap data will be analyzed and incorporated into the Syntinel system to help provide early warning that rust may develop in a specific location.

SOURCE: Syngenta.