February 2, 2005 | By: Laura Skillman

With the discovery of soybean rust this fall, it may be tempting to bring in an infected plant to use as a teaching tool but don’t. It is a violation of federal law. In addition, precautions should be taken if you plan to visit infected fields in the south later this year.

Asian soybean rust is one of about 10 select agents identified in the Agricultural Bioterrorism Prevention Act of 2002, said Paul Vincelli, biosecurity coordinator for plant pathology at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture and a member of the National Plant Diagnostic Network.

Vincelli said since the disease has been discovered in United States, it may be removed from the list in the coming months but for now soybean rust remains on it.

Even if it were removed from the list, Vincelli notes that bringing an infected plant into the state could introduce the disease into the area far earlier than it might arrive from naturally occurring conditions such as storms.

“Earlier could be huge in terms of damage potential,” he said.

It also may be tempting to head south this spring when word comes that the disease has been found there.

“It is certainly understandable why farmers and crop consultants would want to see it first-hand, but they need to keep transmissibility issues in mind,” Vincelli said.

Researchers who go to Brazil or elsewhere to study the disease take old clothes including shoes and leave them behind when they return to the United States as a biosecurity measure. While bagging and laundering clothing can be done, the better choice is to leave them. Vehicles also should be washed.

Instead of heading south during a busy time of year to see the disease,  learn to identify it by attending one of the intensive training sessions conducted by the UK Cooperative Extension Service. The sessions began in January and continue throughout this month. To find a training location near you, contact the county Extensionoffice or visit the soybean rust Web site at www.ca.uky.edu and click on soybean rust.

This Web site contains much information and also is where farmers, crop consultants or anyone else interested in the disease can sign up for e-mails with updated information on the disease, said Don Hershman, UK Extension plant pathologist who is conducting the training sessions.

At these training sessions, participants will receive soybean rust identification cards and see infected leaves encased in plastic that were provided by the United States Department of Agriculture. The fungus within these leaves is not viable and they are approved to use as a teaching tool.


Writer: Laura Skillman 270-365-7541 ext. 278

Contacts: Paul Vincelli, 859-257-7445 ext. 80722 Don Hershman, 270-365-7541 ext. 215