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Summary

In 2020, Wayne County corn farmers were at risk of losing an excellent crop due to the potential impact of Southern Corn Rust. Through collaboration with local cotton scouts and timely educational efforts, the UGA Extension Office in Wayne County was able to informed farmers on the presence Southern Corn Rust and provide them with proper preventative applications, along with the crop development stages to limit spread and yield losses.

Situation

Southern Rust is a serious disease of corn caused by the fungus Puccinia polysora. This particular disease spreads rapidly and can lead to catastrophic damage to corn crops for producers. Without the proper education on weather patterns, scouting and preventive fungicides, Farmers can lose large portions of their corn crop to this disease. On June 11, 2020, a suspected Southern Corn Rust sample was brought to the UGA Extension Agent in Wayne County by a local cotton scout. The Agent prepared the sample for identification and the sample was confirmed positive by the UGA Extension Plant Pathologist for Southern Corn Rust that same day.

Response

The UGA Extension Agent in Wayne County had previously made corn producers aware and educated them on Southern Corn Rust through educational meetings, farm visits and producer notices. Once the initial confirmation was made that Wayne County had in fact received its first case of this crop disease the Agent proceeded to notify all producers with the best preventative and curative fungicide recommendations. The agent also addressed the importance of applying fungicides at the appropriate stage of crop development for the preventative care to be successful. Once the first initial applications were applied producers were also instructed to watch and monitor their crops for any further spread or outbreaks.

Impact

Through the educational efforts of the UGA Extension Office, the farmers were successful in knowing which fungicides to apply, at what stage of crop development to spray, and what type of equipment was required. As a result of this educational effort, Wayne County’s corn crop was protected from this devastating disease this year. The estimated yield from this year’s 4,994 acre corn crop was approximately 170 bushels per acre at an average price of $4.50 per bushel. This will result in a Farm Gate value of $3,820,410 for Wayne County corn producers.

State Issue

Plant Production

Details

  • Year: 2020
  • Geographic Scope: County
  • County: Wayne
  • Location: College Station, Athens
  • Program Areas:
    • Agriculture & Natural Resources

Author

  • Frye, Mark A.
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Extension Impact