Asian soybean rust (ASR) is caused by the fungus Phakospora pachyrhizi. Until recently, ASR was distributed only in the Eastern hemisphere (Africa, Asia, Australia), South America, and Hawaii. During the 2004 growing season, however, a virulent strain of ASR was detected in nine southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, and Tennessee). Disease incidence increased in 2005 to include Kentucky, the North Carolina coast, and eastern Texas. ASR can drastically reduce yields in areas where it commonly occurs, so monitoring for this disease and application of preventive measures, if warranted, will likely be necessary for New Jersey soybean growers.
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