November 11, 2004



Brazil's Mato Grosso Hit by Asian Soy Rust


Brazil's Mato Grosso state, which is the country's biggest soy producer, has discovered Asian soy rust in 2004/05 (Oct/Sept) soybean crop test areas for the first time, according to Brazil's crop research agency Embrapa on Wednesday.


Parana and Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil's second and third largest soy producing states, were also affected. Soy rust was found in plants which spontaneously germinated from the last harvest in these areas.


"It shows that the fungus is present in several areas and will develop if conditions are favorable," said Embrapa researcher Claudia Godoy.


Soy rust was detected in soybean test areas in the districts of Primavera do Leste, an important soy zone in southeastern Mato Grosso, and in Ipiranga do Norte.


In Parana, soy rust was found in Nova Cantu in the center of the state.


"If it's mild and rain is widespread, then soy rust could appear in these areas as soon as leaves emerge on soy plants," said Godoy, a member of Embrapa's soy rust task force.


Producers are ready to spray protective fungicides.


"They must be alert and monitor their crops," said Godoy,


Soy rust is occurring earlier and earlier in the production cycle. The fungus first struck Brazil in 2001.


Planting started in Mato Grosso in October and an estimated 34 percent of the crop was planted in the state by Nov. 5, according to private analysts Celeres.


The airborne fungus grows on soy plants in wet conditions, causing premature leaf loss and reducing production yields by up to 80 percent.


In 2003/04, soy rust caused an estimated loss of 4.5 million tons out of a crop of just over 50 million tons.


Brazil is the world's second largest soybean producer and exporter after the United States.

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