Thornton, MS, is the most recent location Asian soybean rust  has been discovered. In a detailed announcement about the find, Tom Allen, Delta Research and Extension professor, says this the earliest the rust has been found so far north. Even so, no fungicide spraying recommendations have been made.
“We’ve scouted more but found nothing else, so far,” says Allen. “We’ll probably be back in the area (around the latest discovery) on Monday and Tuesday, work out in concentric rings looking for more rust. Right now, though, it’s very localized – several fields next to each other.”
There are “a bunch” of late-planted soybeans in the Midsouth that could be threatened with the disease. “Arkansas, alone, has two million acres of late beans north of I-40.”
In Mississippi, it’s the soybeans that were only planted three or four weeks ago – now at V2 or V3 – that are Allen’s biggest concern. That’s especially true “because many of those are around Natchez and other areas in the south. We’re going to be scouting heavy.”
Allen’s rust announcement, released last Friday, reads:
“There is no fungicide suggestion at this time.
“This is not intended to cause a panic. (On August 6) soybean rust was detected in two adjacent commercial soybean fields nearThornton, MS. This marks the first report of soybean rust  in Mississippi this season and the farthest north the disease has progressed in the U.S. to date.
“This was an irrigated field that had received an R3/R4 fungicide application  and was presently at the R5.7 growth stage. Moreover, rust was detected underneath a power line in this particular field that likely did not receive fungicide during the application.
“Immediately across the road in a dryland field rust was additionally detected. In both locations incidence and severity was very low.
“However, the rust pustules were sporulating. Based on the level of infection in the sprayed field, under the power line, it is likely that the disease has been present in this particular location for about four weeks.”
Due to “conducive conditions over the past month, this is not a surprise. At this point this is a localized infection and rust has not been detected anywhere else in Holmes County or in Mississippi.
“Please continue reading for specific treatment suggestions which at this time are to not make a curative/preventive application.
“There are a few comments I’d like to make about the detection of soybean rust at the field level. First, you cannot detect rust by driving down the road. In some cases soybean rust will develop in a particular soybean field and be difficult to detect since it can be present at incredibly low levels.
“In addition, confirmation of the disease requires finding pustules on the underside of a soybean or kudzu leaf. Looking at symptoms on the upper leaf surface is not enough to confirm the presence of the disease.
“Uredinia, the pustule on the underside of the leaf, with urediniospores (spores) present can confirm the presence of the disease.
“In addition, field scouting for the disease must be done with a hand lens to identify the pustules on the underside of the leaf. Relying on the symptoms as observed by the naked eye is not enough to confirm the presence of soybean rust.
“Please keep in mind that there are numerous other diseases in our production system that can look very similar to soybean rust at the field level. These include bacterial blight, downy mildew, cercospora blight (late-season cercospora), and septoria brown spot.”
If you have questions regarding whether or not what you are looking at is in fact soybean rust please do not hesitate to contact Allen
Frequently Asked Questions:
What does a red county on the public Web site  map mean?
“When a county is turned red on the Web site this does not automatically trigger a fungicide application. A red county simply states that rust has been detected in a particular county,” says Allen.
“Several factors need to be considered to trigger a fungicide application including weather (past and present), local soybean growth stages and the level of infection (the incidence and severity of the disease at that particular location). All of these particular factors will aid in determining the proper fungicide(s) to be used and whether or not they are necessary at all.”
What does this mean?
“Last week in the soybean rust update we knew that rust would turn up and was likely to be detected anywhere in the state. High temperatures (>90F) are not conducive for the development and spread of soybean rust. However, with nighttime temperatures in the low 70s the fungus can sporulate and cause disease,” says Allen.
“Essentially, at higher temperatures the disease will shut down during the day and require a period of time to start back up at night. But as temperatures increase throughout the day the fungus and disease will shut down and go dormant until more conducive conditions occur.”
Where do we go from here?
“At this time, since this is the only (Mississippi) location where soybean rust has been detected there is no fungicide suggestion,” says Allen.
“The (affected) producer is aware of the situation and has agreed to treat the field to reduce the level of local inoculum and likely prevent further spread throughout the Delta. 
“Only time will tell when and where more rust will be detected. Be aware that we are out scouting today and will be throughout the weekend and early next week. Further detection of the disease may in fact change this suggestion,” he notes.
“There are absolutely no fungicide suggestions at this time based on the fact that rust has been identified in a localized situation and has not been detected outside of Holmes County,” advises Allen.
“However, for soybeans in Holmes County  near Thornton that were going to receive an R3/R4 fungicide application the products of choice would be a pre-mix (strobilurin/triazole) if the application has not already been made.
“We will continue to update the (toll-free) Soybean Rust Hotline, 866-641-1847, that has graciously been provided by the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board  and BASF  as new information becomes available or if anything in particular changes,” says Allen.
For more on soybean rust, see Delta Farm Press .