December 16, 2004



Asian Soybean Rust Discovered in 6th Brazilian State


The Asian soybean rust fungus has been discovered in Sao Paulo, in a test field in Itabera. This is the sixth Brazilian state to have reported the disease this season, according to the Agriculture Ministry's crop research agency, or Embrapa.


Rust has already been reported in soy fields across five key states - Mato Grosso, Goias, Parana, Rio Grande do Sul and Maranhao - and the spores have probably spread across the whole of the soybean belt.


The weather has been wet and hot across large parts of Brazil's soy belt. This has promoted the spread of the fungus that reduced yields by up to 10% last year.


The fungus causes plants to shed their leaves and exposes the soybean pods to the piercing Brazilian summer sun, causing on average 80% losses.


Brazil is expected to produce more than 60 million metric tons in the coming season, over 20% more than last year.

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