‘It keeps coming back every year’, the deadly corn disease still impacting farmers across the nation
Agriculture scientists are working to find a solution
PEORIA (25News Now) - Corn farmers across the United States and in Central Illinois have seen black dots show up on the plants in their fields, and the once-rare markings are now common for farmers.
‘Tar Spot’ is a disease first reported in the U.S. in 2015 and was previously reported in Latin America.
The disease generally reduces the yield of each plant and could reduce yield by 60 bushels per acre.
The National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, commonly called the ‘Ag Lab’, is working to find a solution to it all.
A 20-plus-year molecular biologist and scientist who works at the Peoria Research Center told us the disease comes back every year, some years worse than others.
“And these spots are not as black as they used to be, but they can appear on the top leaves of the corn plants or all the way down,” said agriculture scientist Eric Johnson. “They reduce the efficiency of the plant to be able to absorb light.”
The Peoria-based researchers are sorting through a list of more than 300 fungi to find which one will be the most effective solution to help farmers fight ‘tar spot’.
Johnson and his research team said corn stalks left in the field after harvest could be the source of the problem, but they are still testing that theory.
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