The most troublesome diseases of sweet corn in our region continue to be northern corn leaf blight (Exserohilum turcicum) and common rust (Puccinia sorghi). From central Illinois south, Stewart’s wilt (Erwinia stewartii) can also be a problem. In certain environments and years maize dwarf mosaic and sugar cane mosaic virus can cause problems. With increased minimum tillage anthracnose (Colletotrichum graminicola) and Goss’s wilt (Clavibacter michiganense subsp. nebraskensis) can occur. For most of these diseases, sources of resistance exist and commercial cultivars have been developed with resistance. However, we know from experience that for many of these diseases the casual organisms can rapidly evolve virulence in response genetic resistance. The UW sweet corn breeding program continues to screen exotic germplasm to look for more diverse sources of resistance and incorporate these genes into adapted material.
Soil Science Extension
University of Wisconsin Madison