The fungus, Southern rust, isn’t having the devastating impact on corn yields that some experts predicted it might.
It dots crops with spores, creating an orange, rust-like appearance and makes it hard for plants to conduct photosynthesis, thus reducing crop yields. When the fungus made an early appearance in August in Indiana, experts worried it could be a difficult year for crops.
But Purdue School of Agriculture, extension corn specialist Bob Nielsen says unusually cool temperatures in August helped keep most of the fungus at bay.
“The temperatures were mostly too cool for this disease during most of August when it otherwise would have been developing. So, I think in that regard we’re going to escape some of the serious yield losses this year,” Nielsen says, “It’s a matter of paying attention to the fields in the summer. Walking and scouting fields and looking for the presence of that disease developing.”
This is the second year in a row that Indiana farmers have dealt with Southern Rust. Southern Rust was first found in the Southern United States before migrating up to Indiana, where it has been found in at least seventeen counties from the southern part of the state to north of Indianapolis.