New corn disease found in Indiana field, scientists say farmers should be on the lookout for it

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Scientists at Purdue University say they’ve found a corn disease not previously found in the U.S. in plant samples from a field in north-central Indiana.

Purdue officials said Tuesday that the plant pathologists found tar spot, which is more common in Mexico and Central America. Scientists say the fungal disease has had minimal impact elsewhere and no action is needed to manage it this late in the growing season.

However scientists want Indiana farmers to know about the disease and document it. Symptoms of tar spot include brownish lesions on leaves followed by black, spore-producing structures called ascomata that protrude from the leaf surface.

Purdue scientists say they’ll try to find out how the disease got to Indiana and what needs to be done to prevent future outbreaks.

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