Growers Advised to Evaluate Hybrids Rated for Tolerance to Goss’s Wilt

MINNETONKA, MINN. — September 7, 2010 — Growers are seeing corn plants dying early in fields across the nation’s Corn Belt due to a severe outbreak of Goss’s bacterial wilt and leaf blight, a bacterial disease that can kill plants within weeks of infection and cause yield losses approaching 50 percent during severe epidemics.

“This is one of the most widespread outbreaks of Goss’s wilt that we’ve seen in years,” said Eric Boersma, Syngenta Seeds corn portfolio manager. “Nebraska is experiencing higher than usual levels of infection, and Goss’s wilt has also been confirmed much further east and north in the Corn Belt than it is usually found. This is a persistent and economically serious disease with potentially devastating results.”

Syngenta plant pathologists have confirmed the presence of the disease in many fields, which is often misdiagnosed as drought stress or other foliar diseases, especially in areas where it is not typically prevalent. Symptoms of Goss’s wilt include gray to tan lesions on the leaves that follow the leaf veins with small dark green or black “freckles” within the infections. Another tell-tale sign is a glossy appearance to the affected leaves, due to bacterial exudates.

As the disease is bacterial and cannot be treated with fungicide, Syngenta agronomists recommend planting hybrids that are Goss’s wilt tolerant as the most effective way to manage the disease, in addition to burying infected residue, rotating crops and using pre-emergence herbicide products.

Syngenta screens both potential and current hybrids for Goss’s wilt tolerance under in–field disease conditions to ensure tolerance. This rigorous rating along with diverse genetics developed from one of the deepest corn germplasm pools in the industry, enables Syngenta to bring to market hybrids that deliver strong tolerance to Goss’s wilt and other yield-robbing diseases.

“In-field screening has proven more effective than greenhouse-only testing,” Boersma noted. “Our observations in the problem areas this season confirm that Syngenta hybrids rated tolerant to Goss’s wilt are providing superior performance versus competitors for growers in the face of this disease,” he said. “Our confidence in our genetics and our screening and rating for this disease allows us to recommend specific hybrids that are highly tolerant, a key factor in managing this disease.”

For all of the affected areas, Syngenta offers a wide range of hybrids that have proven tolerant to Goss’s wilt and include Agrisure® traits for maximum performance. For more information or to find the products best suited for your specific disease, pest or soil needs, visit or speak with your local Garst, Golden Harvest or NK Seeds representative.