Soybean rust was found on kudzu May 16 in downtown Dothan. Dr. Edward Sikora scouts this site frequently for the disease because the kudzu seldom dies-back in the winter completely. This offers the fungal pathogen an overwintering site on a near annual basis.
Soybean rust has now been found in Baldwin, Houston and Mobile counties in Alabama. The disease has also been found on kudzu in multiple counties in Georgia, Louisiana and Florida. The mild winter allowed the pathogen to successfully overwinter on kudzu in all four states.
The disease now poses a significant risk to soybean production in the southeast. Because of the amount of rainfall this spring, soybean planting dates have been pushed back in many parts of the region. This will provide soybean rust more time to build up and spread later in the summer.