By Joe Walker, The Paducah Sun, Ky. Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Jan. 9--PADUCAH, Ky. -- Far western Kentucky could lose millions of dollars in soybeans if farmers don't spray fungicide early and often enough this season in advance of winds carrying a potentially devastating crop disease from the Deep South.
Several meetings are planned statewide in January and February to educate growers about an invader known as Asian soybean rust, which has caused huge soybean losses in Asia, Africa and South America. The disease also will be discussed Feb. 10 during Soybean Promotion Day at Murray State University.
Soybean rust was discovered in November in Louisiana, marking the first sign of the disease in the United States, and has been detected in parts of nine states including Pemiscot and New Madrid counties in the Missouri bootheel and near Memphis, Tenn.
The fungal spores that cause reddish-brown splotches on leaves are so deadly they are on a U.S. Department of Agriculture watch list of pathogens …