Information Management to Maximize Your Yields

Goss’s Wilt; new to our region

Example of Gross's wilt

Mother Nature pulls another trick out of her bag. Goss’s Wilt is a new corn disease that is moving into our area, and can be very serious if not controlled early. It is a bacterium in the soil that develops on the plant tissue after severe storm damage such as hail or greensnap. Wounds created by mechanical injury especially stalk bruising and leaf shredding caused by hail, provide pathogen entry into the plant. Night time high temperatures are very helpful  in the spread of this disease.

Symptoms of Goss’s wilt being reported in Iowa are leaf blight of the leaves at the top of corn plants causing growers to worry about anthracnose top dieback. The disease may also be misdiagnosed as Northern leaf blight or Stewart’s disease. Careful examination of the affected leaves reveals large grey to reddish or yellow lesions that extend down the leaf veins (Figure 1). Dark green to black “freckles” are evident within the lesions and are diagnostic of the disease. Often the diseased tissue appears shiny due to bacterial exudate that has dried on the leaves. The bacterium may also infect the xylem (water-conducting) tissues of the plant and result in wilting and death of the plants.

There is nothing normally that can be done this growing season to manage Goss’s wilt. Luckily there is a preventive measure POSSIBLY, if it should enter your fields. We have a couple SciMax clients in the western region who currently have this issue and will be trying a new bactericide product (Procidic) applied by an airplane this week to try and prevent it.

Fungicides are not effective against this bacterial disease. Partially resistant hybrids remain the most effective management tool for this disease, so check with a seed dealer for hybrids that have resistance to Goss’s wilt. In fields where Goss’s wilt has been a problem, planting a partially resistant hybrid is recommended. Weed management, rotation to non-host crops and tillage to bury infested crop residue are also helpful.

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