Field conditions ripe for diseases - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Field conditions ripe for diseases

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa (KTIV) -- Farmers are looking forward what appears to be a bumper crop, but more has been growing in the fields than just grain.

Heat, humidity and moisture has been the name of the game for farmers this season. Conditions have been ripe for growing not only grain, but diseases as well. Sudden Death Syndrome, or SDS, is a soil-borne fungal disease that is able to survive winter weather, impacting the soil and soybeans.

"It's a disease that's very common in Iowa but not in this part of the world. It's something that shows up and infects early on in the season, with cool wet conditions. Followed by saturated soils during late flowering early pod fill," said Hull Coop Association agronomy manager Evan Wielenga.

Farmers could lose yields if the area infected is widespread. SDS may look like other problems in soybeans like brown stem rot, but the key to identifying it is to split the stem in half.

"The very center of the stem, will be white if it's SDS and will be brown if it's brown stem rot," Wielenga said.

Wielenga says SDS has flared up because of the higher moisture. He says once the disease is in your field, it can flare up any time conditions are right during a growing season. The conditions are also being blamed for a bacterial infection in corn.

"Goss' Wilt is a bacterial disease that affects corn during the late, during the grain fill period," Wielenga said. "And what you'll see is from the top of the plant you'll basically see the plant just start to die off."

Corn plants rely on the top of the plant to produce the sugars that feed the ear to make the grain. Wielenga says because this is a bacterial disease, fungicides won't help combat these new problems. The only thing farmers can do is to plant a different variety of seed the following year.

Wielenga says another way to help prevent the spread of disease is by cleaning your equipment before going to another field.

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