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Assessing Hybrid Resistance to Goss’s Wilt (08/27/20)

In much of the state, the corn crop is progressing nicely with growing degree accumulations running well ahead normal.

In much of the state, the corn crop is progressing nicely with growing degree accumulations running well ahead normal. In some parts of the state this year’s crop may reach black layer two weeks ahead of normal, if the weather doesn’t turn abnormally cool. This is welcome news after the challenges of drying and harvesting last year’s crop. Unfortunately, the recent warm, humid weather has been favorable for the development of Goss’s Wilt. A couple of weeks ago, it was not easy to find this pernicious bacterial disease in eastern North Dakota. Now it is easily spotted in susceptible hybrids where it has moved quickly through the canopy (Figure 1). Since the primary way of controlling Goss’s Wilt is with genetic resistance, now is a good time to assess the level of resistance in the hybrids that you are growing. Resistance with commercially available hybrids varies considerably. Figure 2 is an aerial view of one of our hybrid trials. It is quite easy to pick out the most susceptible hybrids even at 400 ft elevation! If you are observing damaging levels of Goss’s Wilt this season in one or more of the hybrids you are growing, consider using hybrids with better resistance next year. In fact, regardless of other favorable attributes that a hybrid might have, I think growing only those with a good level of resistance is prudent given the frequency that Goss’s Wilt develops to damaging levels in much of the state. If your hybrid was marketed as having good Goss’s Wilt resistance, but developed damaging levels of the disease, I would recommend you have a serious conversation with the company rep.

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Joel Ransom

Extension Agronomist, Cereal Crops

This site is supported in part by the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program [grant no. 2017-70006-27144/accession 1013592] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the website author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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