Soybean rust is a fungus that can quickly destroy entire fields. First seen in Asia and Africa, then South America, the fungus was brought to North America by hurricanes last year. It has most recently been detected in southern Georgia.
Despite its inability to winter over in our cold climate, storms can bring soybean rust spores into Illinois. The Department of Agriculture has planted early growing varieties of the plant across the state as far north as Ogle County. These fields will act as an early warning system for soybean rust.
The fact that rust hasn't been detected any farther north or west then Georgia is a good sign, but time will have to tell. The end of June and beginning of July will the most important time to look for rust.
If rust is detected in the state the University of Illinois extension will ask farmers to take a close look at their crops and send in samples if they suspect soybean rust in their fields.
If you would like more information on soybean rust in Illinios you can visit the University of Illinios website at http://soyrust.cropsci.uiuc.edu