KCCI: First confirmation of this corn disease reported in the Midwest

September 30, 2015

Dr. Alison Robertson was recently featured on KCCI 8 (Des Moines, IA) talking about a new corn disease in Iowa. Visit KCCI's website for their video edition. 

AMES, Iowa —A crop disease that normally resides in Mexico, Central and South America has made it's way to the Midwest corn belt.


New reports show there are confirmed cases as close as Indiana and Illinois.


It's known as Tar Spot. This is the first confirmation of the disease in the United States.


It has not been reported in Iowa, but ISU Extension Pathologist Doctor Alison Robertson said it's something to be on the look out for.


"The concern about a disease that occurs on one of our major production crops here in the U.S. is that it could effect yield and the way it could do that is by affecting the leaf tissue," said Robertson.


Symptoms of tar spot disease begin as oval to irregular bleached to brown lesions on leaves. Then turn into what looks like black raised scabs.


Farmer's should be alert and aware of the disease, but Robertson said there's no need to panic.


The fungus is used to warmer climates and its chances of surviving the typical long and cold Midwest winter are slim to none the real issue for Iowa farmer's this year... Has been Northern Leaf Blight. We're told some farmers have lost up to 50-percent yield because of the disease. 

From KCCI 8 (Des Moines, IA)