Disease threatens Iowa corn fields - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Disease threatens Iowa corn fields

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A disease that hasn't been seen for decades is eyeing Iowa corn fields.

A series of wet springs have given rise to a disease called Northern Leaf Blight. It's seen through brown spots and causes the plant to fall and break.

The disease was first detected in America in 1911. Iowa State pathologists say the disease can kill affected crops. 

Those familiar with the corn fields say it's a small disease that packs a big punch.

"Huge, huge we are talking 30 bushels an acre and with all the acres in Iowa that's pretty significant," said Joe Manning, Agronomist for the Heartland Co-Op.

"Right now your only choice is either an aerial application or ground rig," said Michael Sullivan, an air tractor driver. "Once the disease is in the crop you've got to do something or it'll continue to spread to more plants."

Farmers are encourage to rotate corn out of an infected field in following years or changing seed varieties to a less susceptible hybrid.

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