November 15, 2004



Canada Soybean Farmers Prepare For Asian Rust

Now that Asian soybean rust has been confirmed in Louisiana, it is now only a matter of time before the fungus finds its way into Canada, sources say.
While Canada's colder weather should limit the impact, the country's soybean sector is preparing itself for future years.
The Canadian soybean sector has been preparing itself for the inevitable introduction of the fungus, said Bruce Brolley, a pulse-crop specialist with Manitoba Agriculture. Soybean rust is not harmful to humans or animals, but it has a seriously negative impact on soybean plants and yields.
Workshops and information sessions will be held in the soybean-growing regions of Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba over the winter, Brolley said.
"While this discovery is certainly of concern for Ontario's soybean industry, it's still a long way from Canada," said Bill Allison, chair of Ontario Soybean Growers, in a news release. "We'll use the time before next spring's planting to gain a better understanding of the potential for soybean rust's introduction into Canada and to ensure our growers are prepared."
An emergency-use registration application for four fungicides - Headline, Quadris, Tilt and Folicur - was submitted this summer to Canada's Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency, said Brolley. No soybean varieties are tolerant to the disease, and developing such a variety is still a number of years away, he said.
Soybean rust needs a living host in order to survive. Current thoughts are that the disease will not be able to overwinter any farther north than Iowa, said Brolley. As a result, the disease would have to blow in to Canada each year. The severity would vary each year and depend on a number of factors including the time of the initial infection, environmental conditions and the timing of the fungicide application, said Brolley.
If soybean rust does make its way to Canada, production costs will increase due to increased fungicide use, said Brolley.
Steve Cote, commodity officer with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, said the agency "is aware of the reported outbreak of soybean rust in the U.S., and we are managing the situation with our American Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) counterparts. We do not see the need for any regulatory action in Canada at this time."
Canada produced about 2.92 million metric tons of soybeans in 2004-05, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The majority of the country's crop is grown in Ontario.

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