Scout Fields for Rots this Fall

Categories: HARVEST, CORN

Plant strength can often be weakened under extreme conditions, creating an opportunity for disease to fester. On the heels of a cool, wet spring, you may have noticed a decline in plant health in some of your fields. If this scenario sounds familiar, you need to be mindful as you enter harvest. Be sure to scout for these diseases this fall.

Crown Rot

  • What? This fungal disease can infect corn and impact yield. Crown rot can often lead to stalk rot and stalk rot can lead to harvest issues such as lodging. This disease can set in early in the season, but manifest later in the season, closer to harvest.
  • Symptoms? Areas that faced wet growing conditions are more prone to crown rot.  This disease presents itself by turning healthy, white-green colored crowns – the base of the plant from which the roots grow – to a dark and tan color. The darker the crown, the deeper the infection.
  • Treatment? Since there is not much you can do to treat this disease once it sets in, taking preventative measures is the best way to manage crown rot. Scout your fields often and remove any infected plants as you see them. Removing them will help prevent the disease from spreading. Using timely fungicide applications can also be effective in protecting your crops from this disease. 

Stalk rot

  • What? This corn disease can cause premature death and yield loss. While stalk rot can have a significant impact, it can be tricky when it comes to showing symptoms.
  • Symptoms? Plant wilting, discoloration and decay are common symptoms of stalk rot, but farmers are often not aware of this disease until harvest. Iowa State University suggests pinching the stalk to identify rotted stalks – a healthy stalk will not be impacted by pinching.
  • Treatment? With early detection difficult, it’s important to be proactive when dealing with stalk rot. Consider hybrid selection as a way to prevent stalk rot next year. Choosing a hybrid that is rated high for stalk strength and has resistance to stalk rot can put less pressure on the plant if facing extreme weather conditions again. 

While neither disease will show symptoms until closer to harvest, it’s important to remain vigilant and scout your fields for signs of crown or stalk rot throughout the season. Looking ahead to 2018, be mindful of the risk for disease in your fields when selecting hybrids and planning your management program.

Contact your local independent Golden Harvest Seed Advisor with questions or for additional agronomic insights.

Photos are either the property of Syngenta or used under agreement.

Syngenta hereby disclaims liability for third-party websites.

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