Diseases developing in Kansas corn and soybean crops

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) All of last month’s rain has posed a new problem for the state’s corn and soybean crops…disease.

Kansas State University Pathologist, Dr. Doug Jardine says we’re starting to see some diseases develop in both the corn and the soybean crop and it’s directly related to the large amounts of rainfall that we got in June.

Topeka saw more than six inches of rain in June, that’s nearly as much as what fell in the first five months of the year and one result of all that rain can be found on the leaves of corn fields – Grey-Leaf Spot.

“This particular disease survives on the old corn debris. So if you’re planting corn after corn after corn each year, it allows that level of the disease to build up.”

Grey-Leaf Spot is a fungus, identified by brownish-gray marks. Fortunately, growers can fight it with fungicides but the rain has also set up ideal conditions for a bacteria called goss’s wilt, a bacteria we can’t control. Combined they can do some real damage to the corn crop.

“We could see 30 or 40 percent yield loss.”

Despite the various diseases Dr.Jardine tells Kansas First News this year’s corn crop has never looked better.

“Certainly here in Kansas, this is as good as I’ve seen the corn look in a really long time.”

As for the soybean crop Jardine’s assessment found some Brown Spot and Bacterial Leaf Blight but he says neither typically affect the quality of the soybeans, it’s a cosmetic problem.

For now, the rain has left area producers with a manageable problem and they’re hoping it stays that way.

Since it is only early July, Jardine says it’s too early to tell how these diseases will affect the corn and soybean yields come harvest time.

August will be when farmers get a true read on what this year’s crops will be like.

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