Weather during the first half of the year proved favorable for fungal diseases in many row crops, according to samples submitted to the University of Missouri Plant Diagnostic Clinic.
The MU Plant Diagnostic Clinic reopened Feb. 1. Since then, it has received 214 samples, including physical samples, walk-in samples and digital samples.
Plant disease diagnoses were identified in the majority of the samples. Only three samples were for insect identification services. And the clinic reports no samples for weed identification.
Of 211 disease diagnosis samples, 15 samples were suspected to have herbicide injury, and 12 samples were confirmed with winter injury, indicating that off-target chemical damage — as well as cold injury —played important roles in affecting plant health this year, says Peng Tian, director of the clinic.
The samples submitted to the clinic also were categorized based on the crop types, with ornamentals being the largest sample category with 71. It was followed by field crops at 47 samples and turf at 19 samples.
Problems for row crops
The heavy rainfall early in the season increased the incidence of crown and root rot diseases for wheat, corn and soybeans. The MU Plant Diagnostic Clinic confirmed 12 cases of Phytophthora crown and root rot diseases on soybean samples, five cases of corn Pythium crown and root rot, and two cases of Rhizoctonia rot and eyespot disease on wheat.
These diseases are primarily because of high moisture level in the soil, Tian explains, adding that the prolonged cool and wet conditions also triggered many foliar diseases or head blight diseases in the field crops, such as wheat leaf rust, wheat scab, wheat blotch, soybean frogeyes leaf spot, septoria leaf spot, corn gray leaf spot and southern rust.
Tar spot disease is a relatively new disease to Missouri and has been confirmed in four counties to date. So far, no bacterial or viral diseases were detected from corn and soybeans in the field this year.
Get your crops tested
For appropriate diagnosis, the MU Plant Diagnostic Clinic can help you confirm if your plant has a disease. Farmers can visit the MU Plant Diagnostic Clinic online and review submission guidelines before submitting your sample. Farmers can also take photos and send them to [email protected].
For a step-by-step process on submitting samples, watch the short YouTube video below:
For sample submission and fee payment, farmers can visit the new online submission system at extension.missouri.edu. Fill out the submission form online using your computer or mobile device and make payment online securely with a credit card.
Or farmers can download the submission form at extension.missouri.edu. Fill it out and send it together with your sample and payment. Check or money order is accepted. No cash.