Department of Plant Pathology, University of Georgia, Athens 30602.
The regional dynamics of soybean rust, caused by Phakopsora pachyrhizi, in six southeastern states (Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia) in 2005 and 2006 were analyzed based on disease records collected as part of U.S. Department of Agriculture's soybean rust surveillance and monitoring program. The season-long rate of temporal disease progress averaged ≈0.5 new cases day--1 and was higher in nonsentinel soybean (Glycine max) plots than in sentinel soybean plots and kudzu (Pueraria lobata) plots. Despite the early detection of rust on kudzu in January and/or February each year (representing the final phase of the previous year's epidemic), the disease developed slowly during the spring and early summer on this host species and did not enter its exponential phase until late August, more than 1 month after it did so on soybean. On soybean, cases occurred very sporadically before the beginning of July, after which their number increased rapidly. Thus, while kudzu likely provides the initial inoculum for epidemics on soybean, the rapid increase in disease prevalence on kudzu toward the end of the season appears to be driven by inoculum produced on soybean. Of 112 soybean cases with growth stage data, only one occurred during vegetative crop development while ≈75% occurred at stage R6 (full seed) or higher. The median nearest-neighbor distance of spread among cases was ≈70 km in both years, with 10% of the distances each being below ≈30 km and above ≈200 km. Considering only the epidemic on soybean, the disease expanded at an average rate of 8.8 and 10.4 km day--1 in 2005 and 2006, respectively. These rates are at the lower range of those reported for the annual spread of tobacco blue mold from the Caribbean Basin through the southeastern United States. Regional spread of soybean rust may be limited by the slow disease progress on kudzu during the first half of the year combined with the short period available for disease establishment on soybean during the vulnerable phase of host reproductive development, although low inoculum availability in 2005 and dry conditions in 2006 also may have reduced epidemic potential.
Additional keywords:epidemic velocity.