Soybean Imports Bring Soybean Rust Back into News

With Brazilian soybeans coming into the United States for crushing, questions about the transmission of soybean rust (SBR) in plant material are being renewed. USDA’s soybean rust Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education (IPM PIPE) continues to be available here. Currently, according to the SBR IPM PIPE, SBR has been detected in a few counties in Texas, where conditions are conducive for disease development. Soybean rust has been a deregulated pathogen since it was detected in the United States in 2004; it is an airborne pathogen that when environmental conditions are conducive for disease development and the pathogen is present, disease will occur.

A 2004 assessment of risks associated with soybean rust on imported soybean grain, seed and meal concluded that soybean meal poses a negligible risk for the introduction of SBR.  This is because the processing associated with producing meal includes heat and other treatments that kill spores. The same risk assessment found that soybean grain and seed were found to pose a low risk. According to USDA, if an assessment were done today, the risks of introduction via grain or meal would likely be less since the likelihood of spread from locations where the pathogen is already established in the US provides a more substantial potential pathway.

In 2013 SBR was detected in 408 counties in 13 states in the U.S. including 107 counties in GA, 82 counties in Miss., 67 counties in Ala., 59 parishes in La., 22 counties in Fla., 20 counties in Ark., 13 counties in S.C., 10 counties in N.C., nine counties in Tenn., eight counties in Va., four counties in Ill., three counties in Ky. and two counties in Texas.