CENTRAL PLAINS: Bacterial stalk rot (BSR) has been showing up in several fields in central Nebraska at a much higher rate than previous years. There is currently no foliar treatment available to control the problem. BSR is caused by bacteria that can live in the soil, surface irrigation waters, or flood irrigation tail zones, and it typically enters the plant during the vegetative period. It doesn’t show symptoms until tassel emergence or pollination. Initial infections usually have some type of damage or wounds associated with them (e.g., hail, wind damage, sand blowing). Once infected, there is not much we can do, but since BSR can live in the soil, rotating to soybeans or other non-grass crops can be an effective pest management option. Also be sure in flood fields to let your tail water areas dry out completely at the end of the season and avoid reusing the water.
Photo source: Syngenta