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Big yield losses from rust unlikely in Midwest, says Mississippi expert

Soybean rust specialists in the South have begun monitoring of sentinel plots, according to findings from an Agriculture Online spring field tour this week. On Tuesday, Dr. Billy Moore, a plant pathologist, was found inspecting one of 17 sentinel plots at a Mississippi State University site.

The sentinel plots are monitored once a week during the vegetative stages and twice a week when blooming begins.

"If rust is blown in, we hope to find it, to protect our growers and the farmers in the Midwest," Moore told Agriculture Online. Big yield losses due to rust shouldn't be a major concern for Midwest farmers, because of fungicide availability and increased grower education, Moore said. "That is not going to happen," he said.

Planting of soybean sentinel plots designed to track the movement of soybean rust is underway across the U.S., Dow Jones Newswires reported. More than 1,100 sentinel sites will be planted in 35 states and five Canadian provinces this season.

Sunny skies across much of the South this week were expected to produce generally unfavorable conditions for the survival of rust spores from infected areas of Texas, Florida, Alabama and Georgia, according to the North American Plant Disease Forecast Center.

"This disease is very susceptible to ultraviolet light, so although spores may spread on a clear day, irradiation from the sun will likely kill the spores," Syngenta rust expert Marty Wiglesworth told Dow Jones.

Soybean rust specialists in the South have begun monitoring of sentinel plots, according to findings from an Agriculture Online spring field tour this week. On Tuesday, Dr. Billy Moore, a plant pathologist, was found inspecting one of 17 sentinel plots at a Mississippi State University site.

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