Coordination of a Week-Long Training/Retraining for the Soybean Rust Fast Track System

Daren Mueller, P&S, Plant Pathology Department


Soybean rust has become an annual threat to soybean producers across the United States, but not specifically to Iowa growers. However, this does not diminish the need for Iowa growers and agribusinesses to remain diligent in their assessment of risk of soybean rust getting to Iowa. As part of Iowa State Universitys effort in helping Iowans stay up-to-date on soybean rust, the Iowa Soybean Rust Team developed the Iowa Fast Track for reporting rust found in Iowa. The system was developed to increase the speed and accuracy of diagnosing soybean rust. Iowa producers may submit suspected rust samples to any of the trained First Detectors, who will examine the samples and submit them to an Iowa Triage Team Member, if warranted.  Iowa First Detectors consists of Iowa Certified Crop Advisers, Certified Professional Agronomists and other crop production professionals. Triage Members consists of Field Agronomists and selected County Extension Education Directors. This process ensures that the sample is reviewed quickly and alerts the ISU Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic that suspect samples are being submitted.

Currently, the only viable management option for soybean rust is timely applications of fungicides. For growers to be able to make decisions on if/when they should make fungicide applications, they need to stay up-to-date on the national spread of soybean rust, and know the risk of rust developing relative to the crop growth stage for their particular area. This knowledge also helps decision making on personnel and time commitments for scouting for soybean rust.


The objective was to organize a week-long training from August 20-24 targeting two groups of people. First, morning sessions targeted new First Detectors for the Iowas Fast Track system for soybean rust, while afternoon sessions provided refresher training for existing First Detectors and Triage Members.


At the end of 2006, the participants of the Fast Track system were surveyed to determine the impact of the system and to receive feedback as how to improve ISUs services. While most of the responders indicated they felt comfortable in their role in the Fast Track system and confident at identifying foliar diseases on soybean, nearly 80% wanted a retraining.

Each of the five training sessions was identical. The morning sessions were similar to the original First Detector training in 2004. They included talks on the role of First Detectors, assessing risk of soybean rust getting to Iowa, identifying foliar diseases of soybean, learning the role of the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN), and summarizing soybean rust research.

The afternoon session targeted existing First Detectors and Triage Members. The sessions included a summary of what has been learned since 2004, assessing the risk of soybean rust getting to Iowa and identifying soybean diseases.


The first line of defense for identifying and ultimately help manage soybean rust is First Detectors and Triage Members. During the training, 41 new First Detectors were trained, giving the Fast Track system over 700 trained First Detectors. For the retraining session, 88 First Detectors and 14 Triage Members attended. In addition, six Triage Members participated in the training of new First Detectors. When soybean rust does make it to Iowa during the season, the groundwork laid during sessions like 2007 will help Iowa growers and agribusinesses manage soybean rust.

100  Corn and Soybean Production and Protection


Page last updated: January 10, 2008
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