Corn School: Will wet weather bring late-season disease?

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Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs plant pathologist Albert Tenuta is gearing up for his annual pre-harvest corn disease survey, and he’s optimistic leaf disease will not have a significant impact on the 2018 corn crop.

Some growers have raised concerns that a rainy late July and August could lead to a flood of disease this fall, but Tenuta says that’s unlikely. In this episode of RealAgriculture’s Corn School, he notes that he’s seen some common rust in the crop but very little southern rust, and he’s observed only small northern corn leaf blight lesions.

If the rain keeps falling, however, Tenuta says growers could see leaf disease increase, especially if the growing season is extended, but right now he’s more concerned about the potential impact of stalk rots. He recommends growers assess fields in mid- and late-September. A simple push test will identify whether plants are cracking or breaking at the base. Pinching the plant at the base is also another technique to detect rot.

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