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First Case of Soybean Rust

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois has confirmed its first case of Asian soybean rust today, but officials say the yield-robbing disease won't affect this year's crop and perhaps not next year's.

State agriculture officials say the disease was found in a test plot in Pope County along the Kentucky border, where rust was detected last week in seven counties.

Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke says the fungus won't hurt this year's crop because soybeans have matured and harvest is well under way.

Officials say winter will kill off the disease, so it will only reappear in Illinois if it's again blown in from southern states.

Yield losses in countries where the disease has gone untreated have been as high as 80 percent.

Officials say Illinois monitors closely for soybean rust and fungicides are available to treat it if detected.

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