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Southern rust confirmed in Southeast, Central Nebraska

A University of Nebraska Extension plant pathologist says she’s confirmed several cases of southern rust in nearly half-a-dozen counties across the state.

Tamra Jackson-Ziems says the disease is most common in Southeast Nebraska but has been identified as far north as Central Nebraska. “Most of the time they’re finding single leaves with a patch of pustules on the top side,” she says. “That’s exactly how this normally starts.”

She tells Brownfield producers need to start scouting vulnerable acres. “This fungus can really blow up.  It is an aggressive pathogen. Reproduce quickly, move around quickly because it’s airborne, but it needs really warm temperatures and high relative humidity inside the canopy.”

Jackson-Ziems says certain corn hybrids and pivot-irrigated land are the most susceptible areas.

She says this is a critical time of year for the disease to spread. “It makes it really more difficult for the plants that are infected to control water use and water loss especially, impacting photosynthesis and water regulation,” Jackson-Ziems says.

She says producers should send a sample of southern rust to the diagnostic lab before treating the crop with fungicide.

Tamra Jackson-Ziems, UNL Extension plant pathologist:

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