Coordination of a Soybean Rust Training in Quincy, FL for ISU Extension Personnel, Corn and Soybean Initiative Partners, and Soybean Rust Fast Track Participants

Daren Mueller, P&S, Plant Pathology Department; Clarke McGrath, CSI Field Manager; and Greg Tylka, Faculty, Plant Pathology Department


Soybean rust prompted an unprecedented coordination of extension efforts to help Iowans deal with the potential devastation of this disease. Part of the extension efforts in 2004 was to create the Iowa Fast Track for reporting rust found in Iowa, where they trained several hundred First Detectors and about 40 Triage Members. Many of the Triage Members spent time in Brazil learning how to scout for and identify soybean rust. In the past three seasons, soybean rust has become an annual threat to soybean producers across the United States, but not specifically to Iowa growers. Many of the Triage Members wanted to see soybean rust in the field to retrain their ability to identify soybean rust. 


The objectives of the work were to organize a trip to Florida to see soybean rust in the field, giving ISU extension personnel, Triage Members, First Detectors, and Corn and Soybean Initiative partners an opportunity to see rust first hand.


A team of ISU Extension field agronomists and campus-based research and extension personnel went to the University of Florida North Florida Research & Education Center in Quincy, Florida, for training September 11-13. During the training, the group learned about soybean rust research being conducted at the University of Florida facility.  Also, they visited rust-infected soybean plots and a rust-infected kudzu patch and practiced identifying soybean rust in the field and lab.  Dr. Bob Kemerait, University of Georgia extension plant pathologist, and Billy Wayne Sellers, a Georgia soybean grower, joined the group to discuss their experiences with management of soybean rust in Georgia.  Kemerait and Sellers also explained how information concerning soybean rust is communicated from university research and extension personnel to soybean growers in Georgia.  The trip was supported by funds from the National Plant Diagnostic Network, the Iowa Soybean Association, and the ISU Corn and Soybean Initiative.

Personnel from several Corn and Soybean Initiative agribusiness, media, and organizational partners joined ISU personnel in Quincy, Florida, September 12-13 to learn about soybean rust.  Among the organizational partners were Robin Pruisner of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) was represented by district directors A.J. Blair of Dayton, Iowa, and Sheila Hebenstreit of Jefferson, Iowa, as well as by ISA director of contract research David Wright and ISA director of communications Karen Simon.  Rod Swoboda of Wallaces Farmer and Dirck Steimel of the Farm Bureau Spokesman, two Initiative media partners, also participated in the training.  And personnel from Corn and Soybean Initiative agribusiness partners Asmus Farm Supply, Heart of Iowa Co-op, StateLine Cooperative, and West Central Cooperative attended the training, many of which are trained as First Detectors.  Two individuals trained as First Detectors for the Soybean Rust Fast Track System, but not employed by Corn and Soybean Initiative partners, also attended the training.


A follow up survey went out to the participants, not necessarily to assess the impact for ISU, but to gauge how well the group in Florida did for the soybean rust training. On a scale of 1-5 (5=best), most every aspect of the training was rated above a 4. Almost every part of the training was rated a personal favorite by at least one individual, indicating that the agenda was appropriate.

Having 10 of the 12 Field Agronomists attend from the standpoint of Corn and Soybean Initiative partnership representatives and Iowa Soybean Rust Fast Track Triage Members were critically important to regain their confidence in identifying soybean rust in the field. Also, the inclusion of several Corn and Soybean Initiative partners and First Detectors will help strengthen both the relationship between ISU and the participating Corn and Soybean Initiative partners and the Soybean Rust Fast Track System.

100  Corn and Soybean Production and Protection


Page last updated: January 10, 2008
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