So. Georgia has a soybean rust problem - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

So. Georgia has a soybean rust problem

March 14, 2006

Grady County -- A dangerous fungus survived this mild winter in south Georgia and now threatens some crops. It's the first time soybean rust was found over the winter in Grady and Thomas Counties. It's a warning to south Georgia's soybean farmers that protecting their crops this year may cost more.

Roger Godwin didn't take any chances last year, he sprayed his soybean crops with a fungicide to prevent soybean rust. "I had some plants on the outside edges of my fields where maybe my sprayer didn't quite get the coverage that I lost the leaves on the plants like soybean rust will do."

Word that the rust survived in two spots on kudzu this winter is concerning. "Those few little plants could act as a source to reinfest the rest of this kudzu," said Grady County Extension Director Tim Flanders.

One spot was near Sportsman's Village, under this light on Highway 84 in Cairo. The other, in Thomasville.

"The likelihood that we got both sites in Georgia are probably slim, but we felt it was important to get rid of the ones we knew about," said Flanders.

The rust causes soybeans plants to stop producing. The rust was destroyed, and farmers can protect their crops but it's costly. "We do have fungicides that we can use, but that's just more cost, we'd be better not to have the disease at all," Flanders said.

At nearly $25.00 an acre for two sprays it makes growing the crop costly, but its something farmers can't afford not to do. "I'm going to plan to spray at least once. The second spray depends on by scouting our beans and looking at the situation," Godwin said.

Crews will keep checking kudzu patches in an effort to keep the rust from spreading. The soybean rust is an airborne spore and can spread quickly. It's been known to spread nearly 300 miles in one day.

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