What is it?
Gibberella Ear Rot, or Red Ear Rot, is caused by the fungus, Gibberella zeae (Fusarium graminearum). This disease can occur throughout the U.S. Mid-West and Southern Ontario. The pathogen overwinters on corn, wheat and barley debris. Spores produced on the debris lead to infection during silking. Red Ear Rot is more prevalent when cool, wet weather occurs during the first 21 days after silking. Extended periods of rain in the fall, which delay dry down, increase the severity of the disease. Red Ear Rot will be most severe in fields where corn follows corn, or corn follows wheat that was affected by Fusarium head blight (scab), which is caused by the same pathogen. Read more
Ear rots can be difficult to control since weather conditions are critical to the disease development. Rots can establish any time after pollination in wounds created by insects, birds, machinery, and even hail. Rainy weather or heavy, prolonged dews often lead to ear rots in these wounded cobs.
Why are rots a concern?
The direct concern for ear rot disease is yield loss due to poor quality grain. In years when conditions favour development, large portions of fields can be affected. Once fields are infected, other management practices should be followed which can increase cost of harvesting, drying, and storing the grain.
The distribution and prevalence of stalk rot diseases vary from year to year. However, the diseases are present in most years even though it may be at low levels. The majority of stalk rot damage in Ontario is caused by three fungi, Anthracnose, Gibberella and Fusarium. However, Diplodia and Pythium have also been observed.
Although these fungi cause different symptoms, their ultimate effect on the corn plant is the same. They reduce grain fill, stalk integrity, and accelerate senescence. The severity of this damage increases when the crop is under stress.
Combine tips and notes
- Higher fan speeds are needed to blow infected kernels out the back. Ridgetown College has done studies on fan speeds, and there is a tenfold decrease in the amount of Fusarium damaged kernels in a sample when the fan speed is at maximum blast. But with that comes challenges of losing good healthy kernels.
- Research from Ohio State showed combine fan speeds between 1375 and 1475 RPM and the shutter opening at 3.5 inches received the lowest discounts at elevators from FHB damaged wheat kernels and DON levels in the harvested grain.
- Reduce combine speed. Having the combine traveling at a slower speed, will allow better separation between the good and bad kernels.
- In fields which are severely affected by leaf diseases, the lower test weight of the grain may make it more difficult to separate normal kernels from Fusarium damaged kernels.
Why are they a concern?
The western bean cutworm is a damaging pest in corn and dry edible beans. They can cause large yield losses and reduced grain quality.
They begin to feed on the tassels and silks until they are large enough to tunnel into the ear and feed extensively on the Read more
Looking ahead to the coming months, Environment Canada meteorologists expect there will be more heat and humidity than normal.
“We’ve already had a taste this month of temperatures getting close to the 30-degree mark and humidity making it feel more like the mid 30s. That looks like the shape of things to come for June and July,” said Geoff Coulson, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada.
Last year the usual summer heat wave to hit southern Ontario was missing in action with a lack of flow of warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico, Coulson said.
This season southern Ontario has already tapped into that flow from the Gulf a couple of times with Humidex readings in many parts of Southwestern Ontario reaching the mid 30s.
What increases the risk of infection?
- Cool temperatures.
- Prolonged periods of wet weather.
- Rust problems in the southern US states and Mexico could mean the same for Ontario as storm systems carry the spores north.
- Planting susceptible varieties.Planting after another cereal or corn crop.
How do I know when to apply a fungicide?
The higher the price of wheat, the more economical treatment is. In general, if trace amounts of rust, powdery mildew, or leaf spot are Read more
Certified Branson on the premium program that is treated with “Manipulator” will no longer be eligible for the program.
Thompsons will receive wheat treated with “Manipulator” that will only be shipped within Canada.
Micronutrients are essential to plant growth and aid in achieving yields that growers need. Unlike a macronutrient such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, micronutrients are required by the plant in small amounts, but are equally as important for proper crop growth and yield. The micronutrients that are key to growth include Boron, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Chloride, and Zinc. Read more
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