Iowa Public Television


Soybean Rust Concerns Continue

posted on January 21, 2005

Up until last week, dry weather in Brazil allowed farmers there to actually begin some early harvesting. But since then, heavy rains have slowed fieldwork ... and renewed concerns about Asian soy rust. Even so, early reports are calling for excellent yields and production.

The X factor, of course, is Brazil's ability to contain the spread of soy rust. In fact, that's a growing concern in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

Soybean Rust Concerns Continue Farmers in the United States worry as incidents of soybean rust increase. According to industry experts, an outbreak of the fungus has the potential to cut profits for Louisiana soybean growers and forcing producers in the Southwestern part of the state to abandon the crop. Louisiana farmers plant 800,000 to 1 million acres in soybeans each year, about one-third of the state's farmland.

Soybean rust already has struck Australia, Asia, Africa and South America. In South America last week, farmers became concerned over rising cases of rust. Also worrisome was recent heavy rainfall that prevented them from spraying fungicide to treat the fungus. The soybean crop was devastated by similar circumstances last year.

This year, farmers are alert to even the smallest risk. And, the rust has been successfully controlled so far. Soybean crops in Brazil are returning excellent early harvest yields. According to the latest Agriculture Ministry estimate, the country's number one soybean producing state will harvest 16.2 million tons in 2004-05. The USDA is projecting almost 4 billion bushels of soybeans will be harvested in South America based on yield projections of 41 bushels per acre.

Tags: agriculture Brazil diseases farmers news South America