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Wet year brings disease challenges, more research

A plant pathologist says the unusually wet spring has brought some crop disease challenges. 

Dr. Damon Smith from the University of Wisconsin tells Brownfield one disease has affected many fields. “Pythium has been showing up. Pythium is one of these organisms that we call a water mold, so in years where we get lots of rain, we have standing water, these are organisms that like those kind of conditions, so it’s not entirely surprising.”

Smith says the large amounts of rainfall are also testing the effectiveness of seed treatments. “We’re getting some good seed treatment data this year, so again, if you’re making some decisions for 2025, I think there’s going to be some data out there in the late summer or this fall that folks can take a look at.”

Smith says seed treatments are only considered effective for about 30 days after planting, and many fields have been subjected to wet conditions longer than that.

Smith says a lot of farmers have called his team this year to help identify crop diseases.

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