Sunday, January 15, 2012

Goss's Wilt

A bacterial wilt named Goss's Wilt cost many US corn farmers 75 to 125 bushels per acre last year. My friend Amy Bandy, a scout from Iowa City gave a presentation about her findings near the Ballpark at St. Louis yesterday.

The first thing she said is what I have been saying all along- WALK YOUR FIELDS weekly! Those that didn't had those huge losses per acre. We had 500 bushel potential in the bag, as soon as we opened the bag we probably were looking at 300 bushels. I can tell you some local farmers achieved that this trying year and many came close, just look at the National Corn Growers results to verify!

She showed fields where farmers lost the first 25 bushels or more by not applying a little liquid food grade phosphorous right on the seed. When you maximize zein protein early, you maximize the number of kernels around on the cob. The 270 bushel fields I walked had maximum girth and all the other fields were a little smaller in diameter.

There are two major differences in seed corn genetics:
1. Vitreous protein corn is more orange, pearly shaped endosperm and kernels with more zein protein and found in the workhorse hybrids you can plant thick. They need more nitrogen early.

2. Floury endosperm corn is found in the pink cobbed race horse hybrids that have a lot of flex but more protein and less test weight and usually much lighter in color and weight. These corns are 15% more digestible so animal farmers like them.

The floury endosperm corn found in the race horse hybrids appears more susceptible to bacterial wilts like Goss's and the pearly kernaled, pearly endosperm corn found in work horse hybrids appears less susceptible.

The next advantage goes to notill. Microbes are happy at a soil temperature of 68 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit and leave the premises when temps get higher. This is when Clavorbacter Nebraskanis or Goss's Wilt takes over. It is a slimy bacteria, not a big healthy robust looking fungi. Trying to protect your crop with a fungicide can open the cells up to invasions by these slimy fungi.

Keith Schlapkohl and Jeff Littrell went on a country wide tour of the corn belt and found pink leaves from sick corn every where they went. The bacteria is now everywhere across the area where corn is grown and future farmers meet. It invaded the seed corn inbreds so hard it is now in our SEED!

So some of us will be planting this dreaded bacteria right into our fields this spring. What we can do now is walk our fields weekly and when we find that second ear dying, look for why it is and if we have Goss's Wilt apply:

2 gallons of 21-1-0 per acre with
1 quart of 42 PHI copper
6 ounces of Safe Strike
2 ounces of Procidic(citric acid) some insecticide e.g. half rate Warrior
1 quart of Defender G4

This is what they used to halt Goss's Wilt last year. It worked pretty good. Never heard of it? Contact BRT Ag.

There is a meeting at Sauder Village early Thursday morning near Archbold, Ohio if any of you are interested.



  1. Some farmers had 350-400bu/a in contest fields for the past few years (394bu in 1999,) we are now seeing this in production fields too, like this guy in Georgia:

    More than twice the national 2011 average of 147bu/a. And then some.

  2. Yes, very true! These fellows think outside the box like we all need to do. Following mainstream farming and yields isn't going to stop Goss's Wilt and a myriad of other things that will keep us from obtaining these yields!

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