Bacterial Stalk Rot in Corn

Bob Mulrooney, Extension Plant Pathologist;

If you are irrigating from surface water sources such as ponds or ditches, there is a risk of bacterial stalk rot. The bacteria are in the irrigation water and if the whorl or the ear leaf sheath and ear shank provide a place for water to sit, bacteria can enter the stalks and cause a soft decay of leaf sheath stalk and ear shanks. It is foul smelling as well. It appears as random infected plants in the field. Corn is thought to be susceptible for a short period of time and the older the corn the less likely infection will occur. There is no chemical control for bacterial stalk rot. Treating irrigation water in the system with hypochlorite is an alternative.

Bacterial stalk rot

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