Southern Corn Rust

by Adam Cordy, Sustainable Plant Systems major

Southern Corn Rust is a corn disease that turns out to be getting a little bit out of where it is supposed to be, according to its geographical name. This rust, typically infecting corn in the Southern corn growing states, happened to make its way north as far as Indiana, Illinois, Nebraska and Missouri. According to The Progressive Farmer, Southern corn rust made its way into Georgia by early June. Kansas had it by late June. It traveled up north by storms carrying the pathogens up that way and then releasing them when it rains.

The pathogen from this rust thrives in Southern weather like hot and humid weather. The moisture combined with the heat is perfect for development.  Kansas lost 10% of their yield this past year, according to (source). Typically, southern fields lost 25 bushels per acre. There are some extreme cases losing up to 80 bushels per acre.

One of the major problems with this disease is that it spreads so easily that is very difficult to control. Unfortunately, there are not very many corn hybrids out there that are resistant to this disease. The best thing farmers can do is an integrated pest management program in their cropping system involving the use of cultural and chemical practices especially. There is not a cure all for it but there are things that can be done to help avoid the problems.

More Information

The Progressive Farmer > Southern Corn Rust is on the Move

This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.

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