Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

East-Central and Southeast Iowa Crop Information


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August 23, 2010




Top Leaf Death


During the last week many people have noted deterioration of upper leaves in the corn canopy.  Depending on the field, there often is more than one reason, some of which look very similar.  The bottom line, however, is that there is nothing that can be done to slow down or stop any of them at this point in time.


The three diseases that I have run into that are easily confused are anthracnose top die-back, northern corn leaf blight, and Goss’s wilt.  Alison Robertson, ISU Extension Plant Pathologist, has written several articles that may help people differentiate between the diseases in the field.


For differentiating between Goss’s wilt and northern corn leaf blight, see and


For diagnosing anthracnose top die-back, see  Both Goss’s wilt and anthracnose leaf blight can have “freckles.”  Look at the freckles under 20X or more magnification; if they are “porcupine-like,” it is anthracnose.  If the lesions have a shine, like varnish, that is dried exudate or ooze from Goss’s wilt.



Ear Rots


Some people are also observing some ear rots.  Alison also wrote an excellent article on differentiating between various ear rots and various stalk rots at





Northeast Iowa Research and Demonstration Farm, Nashua

Fall Field Day on August 26, 2010, 1:00 p.m.

Details are posted at


Southeast Iowa Research and Demonstration Farm, Crawfordsville

September 15, 2010

10:30 a.m.   – Manure Injection Field Day

Noon             – Free Lunch

1:00 p.m.      – Regular Fall Field Day

Details are posted at





If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Iowa State University Extension Office.
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Last Update: August 23, 2010
Contact: Virgil Schmitt

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