Monday, September 17, 2012

Asiatic Soybean Rust Update

Reprinted from North Carolina Pest News
Steve Koenning, Extension Plant Pathologist
Jim Dunphy, Extension Soybean Specialist

Asiatic soybean rust has been confirmed in Robeson and Johnston counties, North Carolina. Between this find, and the confirmation of rust in Robeson County, North Carolina, and in Union County, Georgia, this puts rust approximately 105 miles from Charlotte, 140 miles from Elizabeth City, 15 miles from Fayetteville, 15 miles from Murphy, 35 miles from Raleigh, 80 miles from Washington, 75 miles from Wilmington, and 80 miles from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

We do not recommend spraying soybeans with a fungicide to control Asiatic soybean rust if they are not yet blooming, if they are blooming but rust has not been confirmed within 100 miles, or if full sized seeds are present in the top of the plant (stage R6). Such pre-bloom applications have seldom improved yields, and repeated applications will likely be needed to provide season-long protection against rust. The higher labeled rates tend to provide more days of prevention, and may thus require fewer applications. The triazole fungicides, alone or in combination with a strobilurin fungicide, will probably provide better prevention of rust than a strobilurin alone. Be sure to check the fungicide label to see how many times it may be used in a season.

An exception to the above recommendation is if Asiatic soybean rust is found on the farm before bloom, spraying a fungicide to the rest of the fields on the farm is recommended. Soybeans that have just reached full bloom (stage R2) typically have 65 days until they’re safe from rust or frost (stage R7) if they are full-season soybeans, or closer to 55 days if they are double-crop soybeans. If they have small pods in the top of the plants (stage R3), they have 55 and 47 days, respectively, to R7. With full sized pods in the top of the plants (stage R4), they have 45 and 38 days, respectively, until R7. From stage R5 (small seeds in the top of the plant) they typically have 35 and 30 days, respectively. From stage R6 (full sized seeds in the top of the plants), they typically have 20 and 17 days, respectively.

Rust will typically take 10 to 20 days from initial infection to develop to detectable levels. It will take another 7 to 14 days to spread to other leaves on the same plant, and another 10 days to cause significant defoliation.” This assumes optimal conditions for rust, “65 to 85 degrees, and either overcast or rainfall” through much of this period. This is not common in North Carolina in September and October but has and can occur.

The rust prediction models say there was a fair to good chance rust spores were deposited in North Carolina this weekend. If so, we expect to detect rust in about three weeks in sentinel plots, which would be about October 1. It will likely take another two weeks with optimal conditions for rust to increase to damaging levels.

The current status of soybean rust in the U.S. can always be found at

Friday, September 14, 2012

Need Weekend Plans? Exciting Happenings in the Triangle

Looking for something exciting to do on Saturday? If so, join NC State's Department of Plant Pathology in two fun-filled activities! On Saturday, the Plant Pathology Graduate Student Association (in conjunction with the Plant Pathology Society of North Carolina and USDA APHIS PPQ Center for Plant Health Science and Technology) will be hosting the Bug Bus exhibit at BugFest.  BugFest is an annual event put on by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.  BugFest features displays, exhibits and tons of activities for children both inside and outside of the museum. Every year BugFest has a different theme insect with this years being mantids! Need to brush up on your mantid knowledge before the big day? Then check out this great post from the Museum of Natural Sciences blog, Mantid Madness.  Our exhibit, the Bug Bus, features insect vectors of plant pathogens.  Kids can hop on the Bug Bus and collect stamps in their BugFest passports as they learn about different plant diseases and pests.  Our booth will be located inside the museum on the first floor (underneath the whale). So, if you are brave enough to make your way through hoards of screaming children, then come check us out! It's FREE! 

More information on BugFest can be found here.

Well if BugFest doesn't whet your appetite, maybe football and barbecue will.  NC State's Department of Plant Pathology will also have a booth at the annual CALS Tailgate.  Tailgate is the largest single Alumni event held at NC State University.  Tailgate "is a showcase for the College's academic, research and extension mission, packed around fun events like a silent auction, live band, departmental displays, children's games, great food, fun and friendship!" McCall's will be catering an all you can eat BBQ buffet.  Join us as we cheer on the Wolfpack! 

More information on CALS Tailgate can be found here.  

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sample of the Week: Poinsettia scab

Rapid elongation of poinsettia stem infected
with Sphaceloma poinsettiae
Poinsettia scab, caused by the fungus Sphaceloma poinsettiae, was found on a sample from a commercial greenhouse this week.  It has been six years since the PDIC last diagnosed this disease in a North Carolina poinsettia crop. As the name implies, this fungus causes leaf spots and stem lesions, but the most noticeable effect is an abnormal elongation of the poinsettia stem. The purple leaf spots may develop a light tan center, and they sometimes have a yellow halo. The surface of the spot is characteristically puckered, which is best seen under magnification. An olive-colored, velvety layer of spores may be present on the spots and stem lesions. These spores are spread to other plants via water splash. Long-distance transport occurs on infected planting material. This disease cannot survive between seasons in North Carolina in the absence of a poinsettia crop. For a good summary of the disease, see the 2001 APSnet publication by Mike Benson et al. Growers should be sure they get clean stock and should scout points for leaf and stem symptoms. Keeping leaf wetness to a minimum will help reduce the advance of the disease. Apply azoxystrobin (Heritage), trifloxistrobin (Compass O), triflumizole (Terraguard), or triadimefon (Strike) to protect plants. An interesting side note is that while this fungus is a problem for poinsettia producers, it has been studied as a possible biocontrol agent for wild, weedy poinsettia relatives in the tropics. 

Special thanks to Dr. Kelly Ivors for contributing to this post.
Close-up of poinsettia stem showing scab lesions
Scab lesions on poinsettia leaf, caused by Sphaceloma poinsettiae