A bacterial disease that has been prevalent in areas of the western Corn Belt for decades, Goss’s wilt has expanded to additional areas of the central and eastern Corn Belt in recent years. If infections occur early in the season, during key crop development times, yield potential can be reduced by up to 50 percent.
Factors to Consider
- Plant injury
- Tillage plans
- Preventing spread
- Recognize symptoms. The bacteria responsible for Goss’s wilt needs an entry point to infect a corn plant. Any crop injury caused by hail, wind, insects or even heavy rain can allow bacteria to enter. Humid, wet weather is another risk factor because leaves that are wet or moist allow infection to spread. Infection can occur at any time during the growing season. Seedling plants that are infected will have a slimy residue on the leaves. Larger plants will have oblong lesions with wavy margins.
- Control residue. Goss’s wilt bacteria overwinter in residue and can survive on the soil surface for one year. Utilizing tillage to bury residue may reduce the probability of infection. Crop rotation also can reduce the risk of disease. Infected fields should be tilled or harvested last to prevent infected material from spreading to uninfected fields.
- Select appropriate hybrids. Because Goss’s wilt is a bacterial disease, it cannot be treated with fungicides. The best way to control the disease is to plant hybrids with strong Goss’s wilt tolerance. Mycogen Seeds offers several hybrids that have been evaluated through extensive research and in-field testing to ensure tolerance.
Goss’s wilt has had a presence in areas of the western Corn Belt for several years. In recent growing seasons, it has been reported in additional areas, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana. Planting tolerant hybrids, managing residue and preventing transfer of infected materials to currently uninfected fields are critical steps in limiting the spread of the disease. Talk to your Mycogen Seeds commercial agronomist or trusted agronomic adviser to learn more about managing Goss’s wilt on your corn acres.