In recent years, the emergence of tar spot in corn crops became a new challenge for Midwest farmers and is expected to continue with another potentially humid summer. The fungal disease thrives in areas of moisture, including areas of humidity, fog, and rainfall and causes rapid, premature leaf deterioration that has the potential to take out up to 50 bushels per acre. All hybrids are believed to have some degree of susceptibility to the disease, so it’s important to have an effective preventative fungicide strategy in place. Farm Journal Associate Field Agronomist Missy Bauer suggests farmers with fields at high risk go with a planned two-pass approach with fungicides.

In terms of signs of what to keep an eye out for, Bauer notes that frost-like tinges on maturing plants could indicate your crop is developing tar spot.

Read more on tar spot and ways to combat it.