December 1, 2004

 

 

US Missouri State Discovers Asian Soybean Rust

 

The Asian soybean rust fungus has been detected in US Missouri for the first time, according to the Missouri Department of Agriculture on Tuesday.

 

Becky Grisham, communications director for the department, said the fungus was discovered in Pemiscot and New Madrid counties. The US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has confirmed the presence of Asian soybean rust in the two counties.

 

Missouri is the seventh US state to detect the Asian rust fungus since the USDA announced on Nov. 10 the first-ever presence of the disease in the country after testing samples from Louisiana fields. The USDA has also confirmed cases in Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia as well as Louisiana.

 

The fungus represents a particularly strong threat to US soybean crops, according a recent analysis made by USDA's Economic Research Service. The study, published in April, concludes that the net economic losses from an outbreak of Asian rust in the US would range from $640 million to $1.3 billion "for the first year of the pathogen's establishment in this country."

 

Missouri harvested 4.94 million acres of soybeans in 2003, and the same is expected in 2004, according to a USDA forecast this year.

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