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Catch Fusarium Ear Rot Early to Protect Your Profit Potential

March 29, 2021
This agronomic image shows fusarium ear rot

Ear rot in corn

According to the Crop Protection Network, Fusarium ear rot is the most common corn ear disease. This tough disease can lead to damaged kernels and yield loss, plus, Fusarium fungi produces mycotoxins which can reduce crop quality and profit potential even further.

Fusarium survives on corn residue and other plants, usually entering the corn ear through wounds from animal and insect damage. According to  Purdue University Extension experts, while the fungus infects both seedlings and developing kernels, the infection can grow without producing obvious symptoms. To avoid surprise damage at harvest, consider these proactive tips:

  • Closely monitor the weather in your area. Fusarium ear rot intensifies in a warm and dry environment, so pay close attention to your area’s weather to assess the risk of disease.
  • Properly identify symptoms. Fusarium ear rot manifests itself through many different symptoms. Signs of early infection appear as patches or random groupings of affected kernels. When scouting, look for pink mold on the ears and brown kernels. Additionally, light-colored streaks of fungal growth may occur at the top of the kernels where silks were once attached, also known as the “starburst” symptom.
  • Scout early to protect yield potential. To assess for mold, Iowa State University researchers say to peel back the husks of corn ears from several random locations in the field. If greater than 10% of the ears are moldy, you should consider harvesting early to avoid increased infection levels.
  • Apply a fungicide with broader disease control. To help protect against common corn diseases like Fusarium ear rot, tar spot and more, we recommend applying a fungicide with broad-spectrum activity, like Miravis® Neo. With 3 modes of action, including Adepidyn® technology, Miravis Neo offers long-lasting protection and superior plant-health benefits for more bushels more often.

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