Wisconsin Corn Tar Spot Update – July 3, 2019

Damon Smith, Extension Field Crops Pathologist, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Figure 1. Tarspotter risk predictions for the state of Wisconsin on July 3, 2019.

Figure 1 shows the calculated risk from Tarspotter for July 3, 2019, for various locations in Wisconsin. Figure 2 shows the risk for locations in southern and south-central Wisconsin. As you can see, the present risk remains generally high for tar spot development in all locations examined. This is due to the fact that the weather continues to be relatively wet and humid for the past 30 days across the entire state. Tar spot is favored by persistent temperatures between 60 and 70 F and high relative humidity averaging above 75% for a 30-day period. We have been right in the zone for conducive conditions for this disease.

We have also spent the last few days scouting corn in Walworth Co., Grant Co., and Lafayette Co. Some of these fields are planted to known tar spot-susceptible hybrids and planted in fields with a history of the disease. We have been unable to find any symptoms of tar spot. Fields generally look disease free with just a bit of Anthracnose, which is common this time of year.

The Recommendation

Figure 2. Tarspotter risk predictions for southern Wisconsin on July 3, 2019.

While weather continues to be conducive for tar spot, evaluate the likelihood that tar spot might develop early in your field. Remember, if you have no history of the disease, then the likelihood of local inoculum being present is low. Saving the fungicide application for later in the season might be a better option. If you have a history and you know you have a susceptible hybrid coupled with a no-till situation, then the risk is higher and you need to evaluate the economics of doing an application of fungicide as early as V6. Remember, if you do a V6-V8 application of fungicide, conditions could stay conducive later in the season for tar spot. Those early applications will “burn out” by the time the tasseling period rolls around. So if you do put a fungicide spray on at V6, you might have to come back at VT with another application to protect plants during the reproductive phase, should we stay in favorable conditions for tar spot. Keep an eye on the weather and keep scouting!

More Tar Spot Information

  1. Tar spot Fact sheet
  2. Short Tar Spot Video
  3. Tar Spot Webinar 
  4. Corn Fungicide Efficacy Table