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Asian Soybean Rust (here after referred to as “rust”) is a potentially devastating crop disease. It now afflicts soybean production in the Eastern Hemisphere and in the Western Hemisphere south of the equator. The first case of rust in the continental United States was confirmed on November 10, 2004. While the extent of the outbreak is not known, concern over the long-range impact of rust on U.S. soybeans has grown as a result of the confirmation.

Many federal and state agricultural agencies have begun preparations for such an outbreak. Defined protocols have been developed in some states for better agency interaction and information release to growers.

Because of rust’s ability to over-winter in the southern United States, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to eliminate rust once it has been established. Therefore, there may be permanent and signifi cant changes in regional cropping systems. The South may lose soybean acres due to rust’s ability to overwinter in warmer areas. Also, even in Northern areas, the risk of soybean rust outbreaks may change crop-planting decisions. While these regional cropplanting decisions are not the main focus of this publication, they are important considerations in the study of potential soybean rust impacts.

The objective of this publication is to analyze the financial impact on soybean farmers after a rust outbreak. While a different analysis might include a probability study regarding the chance of having rust on a particular farm or in a particular fi eld, this analysis will focus on farming with rust as a known pathogen. Therefore, changes in operating expenses can be analyzed and compared to other competing crops.

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SP641-2M-3/05 R12-4110-043-002-05 05-0271

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