Drought, severe weather and craziness in Washington have all been cited recently as providing woes for agriculture, but little has been said about another natural disaster for some farmers, Goss' wilt in their corn. The disease is showing up to accompany the drought.

Sources at Iowa State Extension, among others, have noted that Goss' wilt, a condition of corn brought on by a combination of too much moisture added to severe drought, is showing up in some fields across the Iowa-Minnesota border region these days. Indications are that wilt could cause up to 50 percent yield loss for some farmers. One ISU plant pathologist told The New York Times in a copyrighted article last week that 10 percent of the corn crop could fall to Goss'.

According to an article on Radio Iowa's web page, Joel De Jong, an ISU agronomist, said crop conditions are actually in good shape in the Northwest Iowa area since the region received some moisture, but drought conditions are worsening across the Upper Midwest. Goss' wilt and sudden death syndrome, as well as white mold and soybean cyst nematode have been seen.

Goss' wilt is caused by a bacterium called Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. Nebraskensis. Wow. The wilt preys on plants that are otherwise damaged by weather, The Times reported. The microbe enters the damaged area of the plant and infects its vascular system. That scars the leaves with brownish-yellow lesions sprinkled with black freckles, The Times said.

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