According to the Cereal Disease Laboratory, there is an emerging virulent stem rust race that is infecting supposedly rust-resistant strains of wheat. It is called Ug99 because it was first discovered in Uganda in 1999. SeedQuest says that
About 70 percent of U.S. wheat varieties are thought to be susceptible to Ug99. Between 70 and 75 percent of wheat grown in India and Pakistan are also susceptible to this rust, and wheat in Egypt and China is thought to have similar vulnerabilities.
According to the New Scientist website,
Black stem rust itself is nothing new. It has been a major blight on wheat production since the rise of agriculture, and the Romans even prayed to a stem rust god, Robigus. It can reduce a field of ripening grain to a dead, tangled mass, and vast outbreaks regularly used to rip through wheat regions. The last to hit the North American breadbasket, in 1954, wiped out 40 per cent of the crop. In the cold war both the US and the Soviet Union stockpiled stem rust spores as a biological weapon.
It would be worth your while to read all three websites. Thanks to the Ethereal Voice for bringing this to my attention. After checking out the New Scientist article, I googled Ug99 and couldn’t find any encouraging information. (I’m always a bit suspicious of hysteria.) What I want to know is, is there anything a home gardener can do?