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Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Based at KCUR in Kansas City, Missouri, Harvest covers agriculture-related topics through a network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest.

New Corn Disease Spreads Across The Midwest

Crop Watch
University of Nebraska
Bacterial Leaf Streak of Corn

Farmers in Kansas are dealing with a disease that can damage corn and has been confirmed in the U.S. for the first time. As Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock reports, it appears to be spreading in the heart of the Corn Belt.

It’s called the bacterial leaf streak of corn and it looks like it sounds – yellow streaks down the leaves of the plant. It’s been found on sugar cane in many countries and on corn in South Africa. But samples submitted by farmers in Nebraska were the first cases identified in American corn fields. University of Nebraska plant pathologist Tamra Jackson-Ziems is following its progress.

"We know this disease has occurred on corn in other states, especially some of the ones bordering Nebraska and a few others in the Corn Belt in the central United States," she says.

Jackson-Ziems says severe infections may hurt corn yield, but researchers aren’t sure how much.