Soybean Rust Update

— Written By Steve Koenning and last updated by Michael Shaw

Soybean Rust Update

September 12, 2012

from Jim Dunphy, Extension Soybean Specialist,

and Steve Koenning, Extension Plant Pathologist


            Asiatic Soybean Rust has been confirmed closer to most of North Carolina’s soybeans with the confirmation of rust in Johnston County, North Carolina. Between this find, and the confirmation of rust in Robeson County, NC, and in Union County, GA, this puts rust approximately 105 miles from Charlotte, 140 miles from Elizabeth City, 15 miles from Fayetteville, 15 miles from Murphy, 35 miles from Raleigh, 80 miles from Washington, 75 miles from Wilmington, and 80 miles from Winston-Salem, NC.

We do not recommend spraying soybeans with a fungicide to control Asiatic Soybean Rust if they are not yet blooming, if they are blooming but rust has not been confirmed within 100 miles, or if full sized seeds are present in the top of the plant (stage R6). Such pre-bloom applications have seldom improved yields, and repeated applications will likely be needed to provide season-long protection against rust. The higher labeled rates tend to provide more days of prevention, and may thus require fewer applications. The triazole fungicides, alone or in combination with a strobilurin fungicide, will probably provide better prevention of rust than a strobilurin alone. Be sure to check the fungicide label to see how many times it may be used in a season.

An exception to the above recommendation is if Asiatic Soybean Rust is found on the farm before bloom, spraying a fungicide to the rest of the fields on the farm is recommended.

Soybeans that have just reached full bloom (stage R2) typically have 65 days until they’re safe from rust or frost (stage R7) if they are full-season soybean, or closer to 55 days if they are double-crop soybeans. If they have small pods in the top of the plants (stage R3), they have 55 and 47 days, respectively, to R7. With full sized pods in the top of the plants (stage R4), they have 45 and 38 days, respectively, until R7. From stage R5 (small seeds in the top of the plant) they typically have 35 and 30 days, respectively. From stage R6 (full sized seeds in the top of the plants), they typically have 20 and 17 days, respectively.

Rust will typically take 10-20 days from initial infection to develop to detectable levels. It will take another 7-14 days to spread to other leaves on the same plant, and another 10 days to cause significant defoliation.”  This assumes optimal conditions for rust “65-85 degrees, and either overcast or rainfall” through much of this period. This is not common in North Carolina in September and October but has and can occur.

The rust prediction models say there was a fair to good chance rust spores were deposited in North Carolina this weekend. If so, we expect to detect rust in about three weeks in sentinel plots, which would be about October 1. It will likely take another two weeks with optimal conditions for rust to increase to damaging levels.

The current status of soybean rust in the U.S. can always be found at