The Illinois Department of Agriculture,
USDA, Illinois Soybean Checkoff Board, United Soybean Board, North
Central Soybean Research Program and seed industry are funding the
38 plots, which are located from Alexander, Massac and Pulaski
counties in southern Illinois to Ogle, DeKalb, Lee and Whiteside
counties in northern Illinois.
The plots are being planted early in
the growing season or with early maturing varieties so they will
develop and show susceptible symptoms to the rust fungus before
surrounding soybean fields do, giving farmers time to treat for the
disease in the event it comes to Illinois.
"Although there is no cure for Asian
soybean rust, experience in South America shows the disease can be
managed with fungicides if it's detected and treated early,"
Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke said. "These plots are intended to
provide our farmers the early warning they need to protect their
Asian soybean rust was first
discovered in the United States last November at a university
research farm in Louisiana and subsequently confirmed in Alabama,
Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina
and Tennessee. A hurricane that ravaged the Gulf Coast is believed
to have blown the wind-borne spores that cause the disease into the
nine states from South America. A freezing frost will kill the hosts
that harbor the rust pathogen, but the disease is known to have
survived the winter in the warm climates of the South. Cases have
been confirmed this year in Florida and Georgia.
[to top of second column in this article]
"I commend the public and private
partners in this project for recognizing its importance and
contributing resources to make it possible," said Steve Scates,
chair of the Illinois Soybean Checkoff Board and soybean farmer from
Shawneetown. "Asian soybean rust poses a greater risk to Illinois
than to any other state in the country because our farmers lead the
nation in soybean production."
The sentinel plots are located on
both public and private land and will be scouted for the presence of
rust at least once a week. Southern Illinois University, the
University of Illinois and seed companies chose the sites along with
the USDA, and the agencies are working together to plant and scout
the plots throughout the 2005 growing season. The University of
Illinois Cooperative Extension also is helping with the scouting
efforts, the results of which can be viewed on the Internet at
In addition to federal, state and
checkoff support for the 2005 Illinois sentinel plots, the seed
industry sponsors include Bergman-Taylor, Dairyland Seed, Gateway
Seed, Soygenetics and Wagner Seed.
Department of Agriculture news release]