Brazil is set to begin commercial planting of a soybean variety with a gene that makes it resistant to the devastating Asian rust fungus, which is beginning to develop tolerance to conventional fungicides.
Local growers could markedly reduce production costs if the new variety, which was developed by the Fundacao MT in Brazil’s No. 1 soybean state of Mato Grosso, proves effective.
In some areas of Mato Grosso, producers have had to spray four or sometimes five times a season to keep the fungus in check. If left untreated, Asian rust can wipe out up to 80 per cent of a soy field’s output.
The new rust-resistant variety has been given the name in Portuguese of Inox, which translates into English as Stainless Steel.
The variety will not free the producer from fungicide applications all together. Currently, Fundacao MT estimates that producers have to spray fungicide in Mato Grosso on average 2.6 times a season. It expects Inox to reduce this number to 1.6 to 1.4 times a crop, Fundacao director Dario Hiromoto said.