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Read Scott Schirmer Illinois Department of Agriculture

USDA confirms new corn disease is streaking across the Great Plains

Great Plains farmers may see a halo effect in their corn fields this fall, but it sure isn’t a heavenly sign. The University of Illinois Extension recently discovered a new bacterial leaf streak from a DeKalb County corn field that has been positively verified by the USDA and has since spread to nine other Plains states.

Produced by the pathogen Xanthomonas vasicola pv. Vaculorum, the disease creates linear lesions between the veins on a corn leaf and often looks comparable to gray leaf spot symptoms. The results aren’t pretty. Warning signals often appear on the lower leaves and then progress up the plant.

“Bacterial leaf streak lesions are more irregular, often thinner and longer, will ‘bleed’ over the veinal border, and may have a halo when held up to the light,” said U of I Extension commercial agriculture educator Dennis Bowman.

Before 2016, the disease had only been prevalent in South Africa corn, although the pathogen has been attributed to causing a gumming disease on sugar cane in other countries. This year bacterial leaf streak has been found in Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas. DeKalb is the only county in Illinois positively confirmed for the disease.

Most of the fields that have tested positive have been under pivot irrigation. Later infections can also occur and show up primarily in the upper canopy. This was the case for the positive DeKalb sample which surveyed approximately 340 randomly-selected fields in transects across 68 of Illinois’s 102 counties.

According to the University of Nebraska CropWatch, foliar-applied fungicides used to manage gray leaf spot and other fungal diseases are not expected to effectively control the bacterial pathogen. While more research is needed on how the disease spreads and ways to prevent it, corn producers are advised to use standard management practices for bacterial diseases.

Tamra Jackson-Ziems, Nebraska Extension plant pathologist, suggests sanitation practices such as cleaning debris from combines and other equipment between fields to slow the spread to unaffected fields. Crop rotation or tillage may also help reduce infected corn debris and decrease the number of surviving bacteria.

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Ohio missing out on bumper corn crop

When the August WASDE report started talking about record yields, excitement was being generated in many parts of the country. With Ohio, however, starting to feel a lot like 2012, the may get stuck on the outside looking in.

Recent data and a report from The Toledo Blade are pointing to improvements in corn and soybean yields in Ohio when compared with last year, when the state suffered heavy flooding that decimated some crops. However, this year, the opposite problem is rearing its head — drought is cutting into the potential to match the yields that states such as Iowa and Nebraska are likely to enjoy this fall.

Ohio was last hit with major drought conditions in 2012.

Such high forecasted yields aren’t perfect for all farmers — corn farmers are likely going to earn less per bushel, under $3 per bushel in some areas. Livestock farmers, on the other hand, will reap benefits from a drop in feed costs.

For Ohio, it’s definitely starting to feel a lot more like 2012.

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Northeast Iowa reeling from heavy flooding

Roads, fields, and basements are flooded across Northeast Iowa after more than 8 inches of rain fell this week. One report said that the Turkey River at Elkader was expected to reach nearly 25 feet Thursday afternoon — flood stage is just 12 feet.

Schools have been canceled, sandbagging efforts are underway, and evacuations have been taking place since Wednesday. Flood warnings are in effect through Thursday.

Read Jennie Runevitch, Twitter

Photo gallery: Tornadoes create disaster scenes in Indiana

At least eight tornadoes tore through the Indiana countryside in Kokomo, north of Indianapolis on Wednesday, destroying fields and leaving tens of thousands without power. Though the number of reported injuries were all minor and relatively low — fewer than 15 people — livelihoods were shredded by the storms.

People took to Instagram and Twitter to show what the scene looks like:



#tornado #merica #indianaweather #kokomostrong #kokomo

A photo posted by Christopher Kuntz (@indianaarbuilder) on

Here's to a better day! #storms #tornado #kokomo

A photo posted by Dustin Coop (@art_via_dustin) on


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