Breeding for corn tar spot resistance

Plant breeders are making progress identifying tar spot-resistant corn hybrids.

AgReliant Genetics manager of product breeding Mike Popelka says the crop disease continues to spread since it was discovered in North America less than ten years ago.

“From our group we immediately started looking at our germplasm (and) what hybrids were in test in the pipeline, realized we had some really nice tolerance within our genetics, and have really promoted and pushed that. And I think it’s really going to help the American farmer because you can’t get that tolerance just anywhere.”

He tells Brownfield tar spot really became an issue during the 2021 growing season.

“I think we had a lot of people in the field that saw it right away and we realized this is probably going to be a bad disease and is going to move quickly within the Corn Belt.”

Tar spot has been confirmed in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nebraska this season.

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