Corn tar spot expected in irrigated fields

A plant pathologist is recommending farmers especially scout this year for corn tar spot in irrigated fields as it thrives in wet conditions.

“We want to try to minimize leaf wetness so perhaps irrigating during the day or when we’ve already go dew forming on the plants at 5 o’clock in the morning start it up then and shut off and allow that canopy to dry out.”

Michigan State University’s Marty Chilvers says farmers need to assess entire plants for corn tar spot because its location will depend on how plants were infected.

“If it was early or from residue, if you’re corn on corn, you might see more tar spot down in the lower part of the canopy.  If spores are blown in after the fact, they may be at higher levels in the canopy.”

In Michigan, Chilvers says corn tar spot has been spreading heavily in western and central regions whereas outbreaks are less likely in the Thumb.

This year, he is researching the best timing for fungicide applications and says spraying windows have ranged from silking to dented plants.

Chilvers made his comments during this past week’s Checkoff Check-In.

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