Iowa State University Plant Pathologist Daren Mueller began a Twitter campaign on May 23 to help more producers identify corn and soybean diseases. The goal is to better identify these conditions and create real-time maps of the diseases as they spread.
Tweets can be sent to @corndisease or @soydisease on Twitter, and farmers can follow these accounts for updates.
Mueller told DTN/The Progressive Farmer that he would like this to become a “normal thing to do” for farmers as they scout their land. With enough information, he says that modelers could potentially use the data to develop predictions.
Mueller and his team are set to go through soybean disease tweets, while University of Kentucky Plant Pathologist Carl Bradley and his team will sift through the corn disease tweets. Bradley notes that while this process won’t be error-free, it could be useful for rust diseases that spread quickly. Additionally, he hopes that disease-oriented tweets will alert growers to conditions that are sweeping through their specific areas.
At the moment, a crowdsourced website for disease tracking and identification is in the works.
Recently, there has been a spotlight on crop diseases and their relation to growers throughout the country. A study published in “Weed Science” on May 2 highlighted the prominence of giant ragweed and its impact on crop loss in the Corn Belt.