Soybean Rust Found in South Georgia

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It's time again for growers to plant those springtime crops, but soybean farmer Roger Godwin says his attention is on soybean rust.

Roger says, "We had it in the area last year, and I sprayed my beans twice for it."

And it looks like he'll be spraying again. Agriculture officials say the pesky plant killer survived freezing winter nights and has been found growing on kudzu in Thomas and Grady Counties.

Don Clark, a Thomas County Agricultural agent, says, "By over-wintering on kudzu, that is telling us that we're going to have active spores in the area. This year we expect it to be worse and we expect to see it earlier in the growing season this year."

Meaning growers like Godwin will be opening their wallets to protect their crop.

Godwin says, "You're talking anywhere from 24 to 35 dollars an acre to spray two sprayings for soybean rust.”

2005 was the first year soybean rust was found in south Georgia, and growers hoped it was just a fluke, but now they worry this new enemy and its added costs may be here to stay.

Agriculture officials believe a change in wind currents or even a hurricane may be to blame for blowing soybean rust spores into the region.