Southern Corn Rust impacting corn crops in Nebraska

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LINCOLN, Neb. Southern Corn Rust has now been confirmed in more than a dozen Nebraska counties in Eastern and South Central Nebraska.

It’s a fungal disease that can cause significant yield loss if it becomes severe.

The disease was first confirmed about two weeks ago, and it's likely in areas in Nebraska that haven't been confirmed yet.

“It’s not new to us,” said Tamra Jackson-Ziems, Extension Plant Pathologist, “but since it blows in about every year, we want to monitor how it is developing.”

According to Jacson-Ziems, Southern Corn Rust is easy to spot. Southern Corn Rust often causes raised blisters or spores on corn leaves. The blisters can usually be seen on the top of the leaf and are typically orange or tan.

“They will rub off on your fingers,” said Jackson-Ziems. “That’s one way we can tell it apart from other diseases.”

The disease is unlike many other diseases that impact corn. Southern Corn Rust is spread each year from states to the south of Nebraska. Jackson-Ziems said this year, the diseases was likely spread from Kansas and Arkansas.

The disease moves fast and develops quickly, so Jackson-Ziems said that’s why it’s important for farmers to keep an eye out for signs of the disease.

If farmers find Southern Corn Rust on their crops, there are ways to manage the disease and help prevent yield loss.

“We have foliar fungicides that do a very good job managing this disease. The important thing to note is that those products may only last three to four weeks on average, and it’s important to have it on at the right time.”

For more information on Southern Corn Rust and how to treat impacted crops, click here.

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