A new bacterial disease is making its way through corn crops in the heartland, according to Kansas State University. Because the disease has only recently emerged, KSU plant pathologist Doug Jardine remains unsure of whether or not it will threaten this year’s corn harvest and yields.
“In Kansas, it has been positively identified in 12 counties, most of which are located on the High Plains,” Jardine said. “Three additional counties have had corn with symptoms of the disease, but samples have not yet been confirmed definitively by DNA analysis.”
Jardine went on to say that the disease may appear to be a common fungal foliar disease known as gray leaf spot. However, producers should note that bacterial leaf streaks have narrow, wavy-edged lesions, unlike gray leaf spot, which has sharp, straight-edged lesions.
“Sometimes the lesions occur close to the midrib; in other cases, they occur across the leaf blade,” notes the plant pathologist.
Jardine went on to say that samples can be submitted to the K-State Plant Disease Diagnostic clinic through any county or district extension office for more insight. However, producers can also gather more information by examining lower leaves for lesions. Bacterial streaks may be easier to see when the leaves are backlit.
“Observations in hybrid demonstration trials in Nebraska indicate that there are differences in hybrid response to the disease with some being much more susceptible than others,” Jardine concluded. “Long term, hybrid selection, as with Goss’s blight, will be the primary means of management.”