Mystery spots appear on corn in Upper Midwest

Spots caused by an unidentified source appeared in some Upper Midwestern corn fields early last fall. 

Peterson Farms Seed agronomist Rick Swenson says he first noticed the symptoms toward the end of August.

“It was really surprising. You know, we take pride as agronomists to look at something and be able to figure out what it was. But really it was kind of different, we started seeing some brown necrotic lesions but really didn’t identify with anything.”

He tells Brownfield lesions were found in the Dakotas all the way up to the Canadian border.

“We had some speculation, Hocus or something like that. But that’s typically a southern thing (so) we won’t see it. Or even a desiccant, sometimes you get some spotting if another neighboring field is getting some desiccant on it, but this was happening in fields where that didn’t happen.”

Samples sent to North Dakota State University came back inconclusive and Swenson says farmers will need to keep an eye out in 2023.

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