As was reported recently by the Sterling Journal-Advocate, the Colorado State University
scientist who first sounded the alarm about a new corn disease this past summer said the infestation is growing faster than expected.
Dr. Kirk Broders began studying the bacterial disease called xanthomonas after it was found to have spread from cornfields in Nebraska to those in eastern Colorado. The disease infects the leaves of the corn plant, damaging their ability to photosynthesize. The disease presents as brownish streaks and splotches on corn leaves, and looks a lot like "gray leaf spot." Broders has been surveying Colorado cornfields to try to establish the extent of infestation, which he says has mainly impacted Yuma, Phillips, Sedgwick, Logan, and Washington counties.
Broders presented an update to the Eastern Colorado Crop Production Conference in Fort Morgan last week, where he said the speed at which the bacteria has spread has been a little surprising, and because of that, it's been hard to estimate what impact it's had on crop yields in Colorado.
Farmers who've seen symptoms of xanthomonas are asked to contact Dr. Broders at (970) 491-0850, or firstname.lastname@example.org. There's also information at the Broders Lab website. The Colorado Corn Administrative Committee has worked with Dr. Broders on this issue, and is also supporting him in conducting a corn pathogen survey, to compile data on all pathogens and enhance future mitigation efforts.