Sunday, January 29, 2023

With soybean rust on the uptick, consider treating later-planted beans

• By Heather Marie Kelly •

soybean rust
Soybean rust infected leaves — photo courtesy University of Tennessee

With all the counties in Alabama with soybean rust present, many Middle Tennessee later-planted soybean fields will most likely benefit from a fungicide application for yield protection.

Dr. Ed Sikora, Extension plant pathologist at Auburn University, reported on the Soybean IPMpipe website ( and Twitter (@alabamaED) the past few days (Aug. 20 and 23) the increase counties in which he’s found soybean rust.

“Soybean rust has been detected in 48 of 67 counties in Alabama. I was able to find SBR on kudzu and soybeans in NW corner of state this week. Late soybeans at risk.” – Aug. 20.

And “Soybean rust is basically statewide in Alabama after being found in six new counties on kudzu. SBR can be a problem for soybeans at the mid R5 stage or younger. The effect of twin hurricanes in the Gulf will NOT help. A fungicide spray for beans yet to be treated is warranted in AL” Aug. 23.

While we have yet to detect soybean rust in our Tennessee soybean sentinel plots, it’s very likely soybean rust is already in Middle Tennessee/Tennessee Valley area, and late-planted soybean fields that are in early reproductive stages would likely benefit from a fungicide application.

Soybean rust will begin in the lower canopy similar to Septoria brown spot but will have raised pustules on the underside of the leaf. Use the mobile friendly field guide at to aid in correct diagnosis and one can always bring in your local county agent to help identify soybean diseases. Also on the field guide and at, you can find the soybean foliar fungicide efficacy table to help guide fungicide selection.

Dr. Heather Marie Kelly is a University of Tennessee Extension plant pathologist. She may be reached at

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