Biotech Updates

Goss's Wilt Disease Spreads in Corn-Growing Areas

October 8, 2010

Reports about the Goss's wilt disease indicate that it continues to spread in the corn-growing areas of the U.S. and Canada. Pioneer Hi-Bred experts said that it is necessary for corn growers to assess the possible impact of the disease to help them choose resistant lines for the next season. The results of the assessment can be used by the growers as their guide in making decisions for next year and help lessen the potential loss in production. Goss's wilt affects yield by reducing green leaf area and causing premature death in corn plants.

"The disease recently has been reported in Colorado, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Manitoba, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana," says Scott Heuchelin, Pioneer research scientist and field pathologist. "It typically occurs as the result of hail events and storms. When plants sustain abrasion injuries from hail or wind, Goss' s wilt bacterium can infect the leaves where they have been damaged. If growers have had hail damage, they should be on alert."

"There are no fungicides that will control Goss's wilt since it's a bacterial disease," says Bill Curran, Pioneer research scientist and corn breeder based in LaSalle, Colo. "While growers can manage the debris, which is the source of the inoculum, and work rotation and tillage into their cropping practices, resistant hybrids are the best way to tackle this problem.

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