Department of Crop Sciences University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Agronomy Day 2006

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The Illinois Soybean Rust Sentinel Plot System and the PIPE—a Vigilant Watch

Linda Sue Kull Linda Sue Kull
National Soybean Research Laboratory,
University of Illinois
NSRC 144, 1101 West Peabody, Urbana, IL 61801
Glenn Hartman Glen Hartman
USDA-ARS and UIUC Department of Crop Sciences
NSRC 70, 1101 West Peabody, Urbana, IL 61801

Asian soybean rust, caused by the fungus Phakopsora pachyrhizi, was discovered in several southern U.S. states for the first time in November 2004. Among the many responses to this new soybean disease threat, a national system of sentinel plots was established for the first time in 2005, and over 30 soybean production states in eastern and central United States participated in the sentinel plot program to track the establishment and movement of soybean rust.

figure 1

Sentinal plot and spore trap icons not shown in exact locations. See website for location details and 2006 sampling results.

Again this year, this national sentinel plot system is an integral part of a coordinated framework for surveillance, prediction, reporting, and management of soybean rust. Additionally, the national sentinel plot system has been expanded to include other hosts and pests and now includes a newly developed Good Farming Practices (GFP) Documentation Tool. This new tool will assist producers in substantiating that good farming practices were followed. Early detection and treatment, along with good documentation, is critical for the determination of cause of loss should producers need to file an insurance claim related to soybean rust. This expanded program is called the Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education (PIPE). The system was established with the cooperative efforts of the USDA, the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN), State Universities and Extension Systems, State Departments of Agriculture, soybean Checkoff funds, industry, and local producers.

PIPE is an online, real-time observation and forecasting system that allows growers to access the latest information about which counties have confirmed the presence of soybean rust and/or insect pest outbreaks. PIPE tracks the spread of soybean rust as well as soybean aphids in soybeans and dry beans. State extension specialists provide frequently updated commentaries discussing the immediate and future risks and control guidelines. PIPE helps producers make timely, crop-management decisions to reduce pesticide input costs, reduce environmental exposure to pesticides, and to increase the efficiency and efficacy of pesticide application. Growers can sign up for email notification when risks change for soybean rust in their states.

In Illinois, the Soybean Rust Sentinel Plot System, as part of the national PIPE, is supported by funds from the Illinois Soybean Association, the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the North Central Soybean Research Program, the United Soybean Board, and the USDA. Illinois has 40 sentinel plots and a system of about 28 experimental spore traps that are scouted or sampled weekly. Nationwide reports about the occurrence of soybean rust can be viewed at, and Illinois reports from the sentinel plots and experimental spore traps can be viewed at