Time for scouting crops

By Dave Nanda, 
Director of Genetics & Technology, Seed Consultants, Inc.

One of the most difficult planting seasons is finally over. With high soil moisture and warm temperatures, crops could grow fast but the plant diseases will grow fast too. While scouting for insects, make sure to watch out for diseases also. This will not only help you in getting prepared for foliar fungicides if needed later, you might be able to take some control measures right away for certain pathogens.

Stewart’s wilt is one of those diseases that may be controlled if detected early. It is caused by bacteria carried by shiny black flea beetles, the size of a pin-head. The bacteria live the body of the beetles during winter and if the winters are mild, more beetles will survive. They cause bacterial wilt and leaf blight in the corn plants by feeding and injecting the bacteria into the plants. The insects strip away the green tissue and inject bacteria into the leaves. If not controlled, this disease can cause wilting and seedling death. Later, the affected adult plants that survive may develop long, wavy brown streaks through the length of the whole leaves. Several insecticides are available that can kill the flea beetles and control the disease but it must be applied as soon as they are detected.

Have a productive week scouting!

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