Across the state, several of you are dealing with a disease situation on the corn crop that we don't see very often (unless we have high numbers of flea beetles feeding on the seedlings), a bacterial disease called Stewarts' wilt. Field corn, unlike sweet corn, does not often succumb to this disease but can be vulnerable in the seedling stage when a lot of flea beetles, which transmit the bacteria, are present and are feeding heavily on the tissue. Seedlings will not recover from what is called a "systemic" infection of the bacteria. Symptoms in this case will be withered or fired-looking leaves, and if you split open the seedling you will see brown, mushy tissue where the growing point should be. |
Stewarts' wilt on seedling.
Robert Bellm, crops educator at the Edwardsville Extension Center, and Matt Montgomery of the Sangamon/Menard Extension Unit both report fields with significant Stewarts' seedling wilt. For a discussion of Stewarts' wilt, see Loretta Ortiz-Ribbing's article on the subject in issue no. 3 (April 14) of this year's Bulletin.--Suzanne Bissonnette