MSU hosts virtual field day on various corn topics

Michigan State University Extension and MSU AgBioResearch hosted a virtual corn field day Wednesday, Sept. 9

Corn field

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State University (MSU) hosted a Corn Virtual Field Day with emphasis on 2020 production issues, including tar spot disease, field unevenness and integrated management on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

The event, moderated by Kristin Poley, manager of Michigan research and soil health partnership for Corn Marketing Program of Michigan, featured MSU Extension specialists and educators.

Despite not being held in person, organizers developed an interactive and responsive program that included video, conversation and questions and answers. 

The first half focused on tar spot in corn. 

“Tar spot is a recently introduced disease to Michigan and we are still learning a lot about it and how best to manage it,” said MSU Extension field crops pathologist Marty Chilvers.

“The 2018 season saw some fields experience losses on the order of 50 bushels per acre due to this disease. The 2019 season was drier in July and August so losses were far less severe; however, the pathogen continued to spread and can now be found across the lower half of Michigan.”

The second half focused on uneven corn development within a field with a panel of MSU Extension field crops specialists. Among the presenters was weed specialist Erin Burns

“Understanding how early season weed control decisions impact season-long success is a critical component to corn production,” said Burns, who will share resources about weed control research in corn conducted by the MSU Weed Science Program.

“Variability early in the season can impact pollination success, and there are many agronomic factors affecting that variability,” said Cropping Systems Agronomist Manni Singh, who will discuss management decisions that drive some of those agronomic factors.

Other topics included:

  • Latest on tar spot research, including fungicide efficacy and timing trials, effect of plant population and fertility.
  • How to scout for tar spot and some thoughts on fungicide spray thresholds.
  • Information on tar spot variety resistance screening and yield loss.
  • Use of leaf wetness sensors to predict the potential risk of plant disease
  • Discussion on causes of uneven corn development related to weed control, nutrient management, pest control, and agronomic management.
  • Live question and answer session with all speakers.


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