Asian Soybean Rust has been confirmed in several southern Alabama sentinel plots, according to Extension specialists with Auburn University.

“A graduate student found Asian Soybean Rust on Tuesday afternoon (June 28) in sentinel plots around Fair Hope, Ala.,” said Ed Sikora, Extension plant pathologist with Auburn. “That’s in Baldwin County, across the bay from Mobile.”

Rust was found on two plants with “roughly 10 leaves on each plant showing symptoms in the lower canopy — typical lesion formations. The samples were brought to Auburn yesterday. We confirmed the rust through several tests.”

Two sentinel plots were planted in the area — one late; one earlier. “One of the infected plants was found in the older sentinel plot where beans were at R-6. The other plant was found on the neighboring sentinel plot at R-1/R-2.

“We also have Syngenta spore traps — slides covered with petroleum jelly — in the area,” said Sikora. “On Monday, we found four spores that look like Asian rust spores in one of those traps.”

Sikora is advising producers in south and south-central Alabama to “strongly consider a tank-mix or a pre-mix of a triazole and strobilurin. We just don’t know how far it’s moved up.”

Rust has also been found in Leon County, Fla. The USDA Web site that monitors Asian Soybean Rust highlights Leon County, Fla. The rust was expected to be confirmed.

Leon County is located in the Panhandle.

If confirmed, Leon County would be added to the list of counties in Florida with rust. The others are Dade, Hernando, Pasco and Marion.

Seminole County in Georgia has also been confirmed to have Asian Soybean Rust.

In Mississippi, Extension Soybean Specialist Alan Blaine said most of the state’s crop is at a stage where “we normally spray a fungicide for things other than Asian Soybean Rust. The decision for producers is whether to spray a (triazole/strobilurin) as well. At this point, I don’t think we have (Asian rust).”

Blaine’s belief is bolstered by two factors: weather and scouting.

“You have to consider where the rust was found in Alabama. They found it north of Gulf Shores on the coast — it rains there frequently. I can assure you we haven’t had rain frequently in the soybean-growing areas of Mississippi. Based on that, I’m not going to change my plans for our test fields yet. Even if it is spreading, it doesn’t appear there’s a whole lot of innoculum out there.”

Currently, an Extension crew is in south Mississippi looking for rust.

“Since yesterday afternoon, they’ve checked soybeans around Jackson, Ala., and in Mississippi they’ve been all around Lucedale, Poplarville, and Tylertown,” said Blaine. “We’re on the way to check fields in Meadville and Natchez now. We’ll be in the Delta scouting tomorrow. As of 11 a.m. today, (June 30) we haven’t found anything suspicious.”

e-mail: dbennett@primediabusiness.com