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New Pest Alert: Bacterial Leaf Streak Spotted in Nebraska

Categories: GROWING, CORN
Photo Caption: Bacterial leaf streak on a Nebraska corn leaft.

Golden Harvest agronomists welcomed Tamra Jackson-Ziems, plant pathologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, to the York, Nebraska, Golden Harvest Agronomy in Action site. Tamra spoke to local farmers about the newest pest sweeping through Nebraska corn fields, bacterial leaf streak. Originally known as a South African crop disease, bacterial leaf streak was first spotted in the United States in Nebraska in 2016. In 2017, the disease has been reported in 56 Nebraska counties and eight additional states. Sightings of bacterial leaf streak have been reported in field corn, sweet corn, seed corn and popcorn fields.

Here are three key insights Nebraska researchers know about this mysterious new invader:

  1. Bacterial leaf streak overwinters in infected crop debris.
  2. It thrives in wet/humid conditions, minimum tillage areas and continuous corn fields.
  3. The disease infects through natural openings in corn leaves and shows symptoms in lower leaves before moving up the crop canopy.

According to Tamra, since the disease is new to farmers, it is often mistaken as gray leaf spot. The biggest difference farmers can look for are the jagged or wavy lesions of bacterial leaf streak, compared to the straight lesions of gray leaf spot.

To help manage the severity of the disease, farmers should scout lower leaves for the first sign of infection and rotate crops from year to year.

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

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