Revisions in Corn Field Guide Reduce Uncertainty

November 23, 2013
ICM News

Identifying pests, diseases, disorders and developmental stages in Midwestern corn crops just became easier. New and larger color photographs, updated information on plant diseases and crop production, and additional topics are included in the second edition of Iowa State University’s popular Corn Field Guide, now available for purchase online at

Growers and agronomists will appreciate new environmental criteria added to help identify diseases.

“If a farmer is field scouting for disease and discovers something abnormal, he can use the photo and description in the guide to begin to identify what might be happening,” said Daren Mueller, assistant professor of plant pathology and microbiology, who assisted with guide revisions. “Then, if he reads under the “Environment” section that the disease exists in moist, cool conditions, but it’s been hot and dry, he knows he needs to look further in the guide.” 

Mueller is a principal investigator on the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) team of the Climate and Corn-based Cropping Systems Coordinated Agricultural Project, also known as the Sustainable Corn Project. It’s a 10-university research project in the Corn Belt, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and led by Iowa State University. Team members are gathering and analyzing field trial data from 35 field sites and thousands of farmers in eight Midwestern states in an effort to create a suite of practices that make corn-based cropping systems more resilient in response to climate change. Mueller’s team collects and analyzes IPM data to assess the impact of the field practices on pests, weeds and diseases under specific environmental conditions.

“With the guide scheduled to be updated, it was an opportunity to incorporate what is known about how climate and extreme weather events affect corn production, insects and diseases. The new guide provides the farmer with more information for making decisions,” said Jamie Benning, a  program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and principal investigator on the Sustainable Corn Project.

Updating the guide was a collaborative effort between ISU Extension and Outreach, Integrated Pest Management and the Sustainable Corn Project, said Mueller.

“Numerous extension specialists, engineers, agronomists, plant pathologists, entomologists, weed scientists and nematologists with Iowa State provided text and images. It was a team effort,” said Mueller.

Over 200 photos and illustrations are packed into this updated version of the pocket-sized Corn Field Guide, now available for purchase online at

For more information, contact Daren Mueller at 515-460-8000,, or Jamie Benning, 515-294-6038,

Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Integrated Crop Management News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on November 23, 2013. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.


Daren Mueller Associate Professor

Dr. Daren Mueller is an associate professor and extension plant pathologist at Iowa State University. He is also the coordinator of the Iowa State University Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. Dr. Mueller earned his bachelor's degree from the Univ...

Jamie Benning Water Quality Program Manager I

Jamie Benning is the water quality program manager with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates extension program activities related to water quality, connects with water researchers, and develops new programs to meet current and future needs. Benning connects with external ...