Chipley- Last year's mild winter has created a very untimely problem for soybean growers. Farmers told News Channel 7, it simply didn't get cold enough to kill off kudzu. It wouldn't seem like much of a problem, but kudzu breeds rust- a fungus that can destroy soybean crops.
This year, Washington County farmers have seen more occurrences of rust than in recent years. It's an untimely issue seeing as soybeans are expected to sell for the highest price in recorded history this year.
Washington County Agriculture Extension Agent, Andy Andreasen said, the problem in some cases was severe.
"We've had three years of drought in a row and the farmers really need a good year to help overcome some of the losses they've experienced" he told us.
After a drought in the Midwest destroyed massive amounts of crops, the selling price for soybeans sky rocketed.
"This year of all years- with the highest price of soybeans that we've ever had in the history of agriculture- is not the year to lose your seed" Andreasen said. "You need to make as much of a crop as you can when we see $16 soybeans when the average cost would be $6 to $8 dollars a bushel."
By looking at the crop at eye level, a farmer may not realized his soybeans were affected. Rust hits the bottom leaves first before working it's way to the top. To combat the issue, Andreasen said it was important for growers to thoroughly comb through all of their fields.
He also said nearly every soybean grower he knew had an outbreak of rust this season. "Some [farmers who] sprayed early will have very moderate to slight loss. Those that didn't will have a very severe loss" he explained.
Andreasen told us there was still a little growing time left before the soybean harvest began. He encouraged all farmers to remain diligent in checking their crops.