A $900,000 grant from the USDA-National Research Initiative is going to help farmers, Extension specialists and scientists trace the spread of Asian soybean rust on a national Web site.
The long-term goal of the project is to develop a system that will detect any disease or pest that threatens American agriculture.
“Models will predict where we think rust will occur based on the spread of spores and wind,” he says. “In the case of Asian soybean rust it will provide information to growers so they don’t apply fungicides too early or too late,” said a scientist.
The web-based project will allow producers to view national, state or county level maps that depict where the rust disease is present or predicted to have already spread. The real-time disease and pest risk maps will use information from the National Plant Diagnostic Network, satellite imaging and GIS. Predictions of where they could spread will be accomplished using atmospheric transport models, which predict the time and distance pathogen spores are disseminated beyond the point where the disease was initially found.
Satellite imaging will allow the system to look outside the United States to find and monitor pathogens approaching the country.