Researchers report tar spot outbreaks just beginning

A corn researcher says tar spot has been slow to take off in her trials this season.

Addie Thompson with Michigan State University tells Brownfield, “Because we had such hot, dry weather earlier in the season, I feel like the disease took a lot longer to get started and so just within the last week or two we’ve been seeing it pop up.”

Thompson is working with Purdue University and the University of Wisconsin to find what corn varieties are resistant to the disease. 

“It’s a big deal,” she says.  “You may be thinking it’s fine now but give it a cool, rainy year and you’re going to have a lot of complaints coming in if you don’t get some resistant varieties.

Trials are currently underway at each university.

Thompson says the research is showing some promise, but ultimately, it will be up to the industry to bring a tar spot resistant trait to farmers.

Corn tar spot can cause significant yield reductions, and in the Great Lakes region up to 50 percent yield loss.

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