Things to keep in mind ahead of planting for tar spot

April 3, 2019 11:20 AM
Blog Post

University of Illinois Extension Plant Pathologist Nathan Kleczewski recently conducted an interview through the Illinois Extension news service regarding pre-season management and preparation for tar spot in 2019.

While Iowa isn't as heavily impact as some counties in Illinois, the disease has still been confirmed in the east central/northeast counties in the state (bordering Illinois), and his recommendations can bode well for farmers in Iowa counties that have seen tar spot. The whole interview can be found one Soundcloud.

Some quick points from the interview:

  • Tar spot likes cooler, humid conditions (60-70 degrees Fahrenheit overnight)
  • Typical tar spot appearance has been late in the growing season, after most grain has been filled. Last year in Illinois, the disease appeared early and caused between 10-40/50 BPA yield loss.
  • There are no fully resistant hybrids for tar spot, but some hybrids are more tolerant of the disease than others. Check with your seed supplier on tolerance levels. Damon Smith, out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, published hybrid performance trials in regards to tar spot severity. His results can be found here.
  • Fungicide applications can be effective, but it is all about timing. Scouting is imperative. When the disease starts appearing is the key. If the disease is present before the tasseling/R1 stage, an application could provide results.

For resources on tar spot, visit the Crop Protection Network, which recently posted a free management guide for the disease, this year.