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Scouting Fields for Disease More Important than Ever

Flooded areas provide perfect breeding ground for plant diseases.

Published on: Jul 15, 2008

Much of the Midwest saw heavy flooding this spring and summer as well as receiving torrential rains. Many areas are still extremely wet and a lot of corn and soybean fields are standing in water. These conditions are tailor made for diseases according to Iowa State University Extension plant disease expert Allison Robertson. She says farmers can expect to see more disease this year including some rather rare ones. She says flooded corn fields are perfect for the fungus that causes crazy top.

"We get a proliferation of leafy shoots on the top of the plant on the leaf, tassel and sometimes the ear," Robertson says. "Probably the most important thing about crazy top is often those plants are barren, so from a yield standpoint crazy top can be devastating."

And that's just one of many plant pathogens that can be found in wet fields. Robertson says this will be a difficult year for farmers from a disease standpoint, but scouting fields and keeping a close watch for disease can minimize losses to the crop.