Scouting for Ear Rots
Fungal pathogens of many ear rot diseases may not always have a significant impact on initial yield; however, their effects can be felt later at the elevator due to reduced quality caused by the fungi or the mycotoxins produced by some fungal ear rot pathogens. It is crucial to assess field for ear rots every year before harvest, as identification of specific ear rots can alert you to potential problems and guide management decisions to mitigate damage from ear rots and associated mycotoxins. Scouting for all ear rots can begin at late dent stage, R5. To evaluate a field, choose 100 ears (20 ears from 5 different places in the field) and pull back the husk so the ear is fully visible. If more than 10 percent of ears show signs of ear rot, growers should prioritize harvesting those affected fields first.