Blog Post

Leaf Disease Strikes Again in Eastern Iowa

This agronomic image shows gray leaf spot along corn leaf.

Gray leaf spot can cause blocky lesions along the leaf.

Throughout eastern IA, we’ve been seeing the effects of corn leaf diseases such as gray leaf spot and northern corn leaf blight (NCLB). At our Traer, IA, Grow More™ Experience site, Syngenta Agronomist Dean Grossnickle explained how to identify these diseases in your field.

Gray leaf spot usually has blocky, gray/tan lesions along the plant’s leaf with symptoms starting to show up before tasseling. NCLB is known for long, elliptical cigar-shaped lesions, particularly if conditions are moist.

It’s still important to pay attention to disease pressure in your fields this year so you can address those needs when making 2018 management plans, which can include:

  • Rotating your crops: Rotating corn fields with a non-host crop will help future corn crops be less susceptible since these diseases both overwinter.
  • Managing corn residue: Baling corn stalks or plowing down infected corn residue into the ground in the fall can help to prevent this from impacting yield potential in 2018. According to Grossnickle, future crops can become infected by corn debris left in the soil, if conditions allow for it.
  • Selecting hybrids for genetic protection: Think about selecting NK® Corn hybrids that are rated high for NCLB and gray leaf spot tolerance to give your field genetic protection against the disease.

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