Goss's wilt may be on more U.S. growers' radars
Fields most at risk for infection include those with continuous corn, grassy weeds, surface crop residue, minimum or no-till practices, and those planted with susceptible hybrids or with a history of Goss's wilt problems in the area. These conditions increase the likelihood of Goss's wilt because they may harbor previously infected material or hosts for the bacteria. Additionally, heavy rainfall followed by hot, humid conditions favors rapid development of this disease after the initial infection.
Heuchelin says in-season management options of the disease are very limited.
"Goss's wilt is a bacterium; therefore it cannot be controlled by a fungicide. Instead, the best strategy is prevention in the off-season with genetic resistance," says Heuchelin. "Choosing a hybrid with high levels of Goss's wilt tolerance is the best line of defense - especially if the field has a history of previous infection."
Pioneer has conducted decades of research breeding for Goss's wilt resistance in the western Corn Belt and has developed highly resistant germplasm for deployment in environments with high Goss's wilt pressure. For the past several years, the company has introduced resistant traits into corn hybrids developed for the eastern areas of the Corn Belt.
Other tips to help avoid spread of the disease include managing the debris, which is the source of the inoculum, by working in rotation and tillage along with cleaning the equipment of crop residue before moving to other fields.
To help detect if Goss's wilt is present in cornfields, consult your area Pioneer agronomist or university extension resources for assistance, or visit the agronomy section of pioneer.com.