Growers will find key information to keep in mind about the ongoing threat of soybean rust and actions they can take to minimize potential losses from this disease in two videos now available online.

The videos include highlights from numerous research and Extension projects carried out by land-grant university researchers from around the country involved in soybean rust research and monitoring efforts.

They were produced with support from the American Public Land Grant Universities Association, Cooperative Extension, the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy (ESCOP), the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and the United Soybean Board.

The first video provides an overview of soybean rust, its impacts, its spread in the U.S., and how responding to this disease has changed the way researchers, Extension educators and farmers now approach soybean diseases in general.

The second video deals with efforts undertaken across the country to model, predict and forecast soybean rust through the use of “sentinel plots.”

“Soybean rust is a significant invasive species that has and continues to pose a distinct threat to the U.S. soybean crop,” said Steve Slack, director of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, which is the research arm of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. “These videos provide information to help growers mitigate the impact of this serious disease, presented broadly in an easily understood and useful format.”

First detected in the U.S. in 2004, soybean rust has become a serious concern due to high yield losses from the disease experienced in South America. Since then, it has spread through the South, with some states experiencing severe yield losses in isolated areas.

University of Tennessee scientists and Extension educators have worked with colleagues from more than 30 U.S. and Canadian land-grant universities, federal agencies and industry associations in a coordinated effort — officially called NCERA (North Central Extension and Research Activity)-208 “Response to Emerging Soybean Rust Threat” — to minimize the impact of soybean rust.

Among its many accomplishments, the team has identified management strategies for soybean rust; made efforts to test and register fungicides for use in the U.S., giving soybean producers more options for controlling the disease; and established an extensive network initially of over 2,300 sentinel plots, helping farmers know more precisely where the disease is likely to occur and when and what types of fungicides to use.

Today, NCERA-208 has shifted focus from responding to soybean rust as an “emerging threat” to maintaining an ongoing program of soybean monitoring and management, said Ed Sikora, a professor and Extension plant pathologist at Auburn University.

The team has also evolved to concentrate on improving management tools for soybean rust and applying lessons learned from this pathogen to other economically important diseases of soybeans, he said.