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  • Condensed by Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Unconventional Ag Media

New Corn-Killing Disease Spreading Across U.S. Midwest, Great Plains

A new corn-killing fungal disease called tar spot is quickly spreading across the U.S. Midwest and Great Plains, according to a report from researchers at Kansas State University.

Originally present in Mexico, the disease first appeared in the U.S. in Indiana and Illinois in 2015. Since then, it’s spread to surrounding states, and was detected in Nebraska in 2021, and in Missouri, Kansas, and South Dakota last year.

The fungal pathogen thrives in mild temperatures and wet leaves, but also survives over winter, and once the fungus attacks leaf tissue, corn plants rapidly deteriorate. Estimates by the Crop Protection Network are that losses to U.S. farmers between 2018-2021 were approximately $3 billion, however, the disease may prove more destructive in states that are now just detecting it.

Once tar spot is detected in a field, there’s no way to get rid of it. But experts state that there are ways to manage it - one way is for farmers to choose hybrid varieties that are more resistant, or by using fungicides.



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CONTRIBUTE

Contact Lynda Kiernan-Stone,

editor of Unconventional Ag News, to submit a story for consideration: 
lkiernan-stone@highquestgroup.com

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