June 8, 2014

Farm briefs: June 8, 2014

Corn, soybean disease survey underway

PLATTSBURGH — Common, emerging and re-emerging crop diseases are a threat to two of the economically important crops in Northern New York, so a team of Cornell University faculty and Cornell Cooperative Extension educators with Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) funding are now in the second year of a survey of corn and soybean fields in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

This proactive disease assessment will help protect the health and profitability of corn and soybean production in Northern New York. The two crops combined are estimated to have a more than $106 million economic impact in the region.

“New diseases arise and formerly minor diseases become more damaging on a regular basis in stressful environments due to soil and climate conditions and other factors,” said project leader Cornell Plant Pathologist Gary Bergstrom, “This assessment and mapping project will help growers make informed management decisions.”

The NNYADP has posted the early results of the first-year survey in 2013 on its website at First-year plant samples from 14 sentinel fields of corn and 10 sentinel fields of soybeans on Northern New York farms were tested by the Bergstrom Lab at Cornell University in Ithaca. 

One corn disease and four soybean diseases were identified in the field samples. Northern corn leaf blight was widespread but late-arriving and so significant yield loss was unlikely. The research team is urging growers, however, to plant corn hybrids with moderate resistance to the disease in 2014. Some brown mid-rib corn hybrids showed severe damage in 2013, so 2014 plantings may warrant fungicide application.

Bacterial pustule, white mold, brown spot and downy mildew were seen in some soybean fields but did not show significant disease development. The 2014 survey will, however, be watchful for white mold persistence.

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