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Tar Spot & Yields: Protect With Fungicides, Maximize With Foliar Fertilizers

Posted on May 24, 2022

Tar spot on corn, caused by the fungus Phyllachora maydis, was first confirmed in the United States in 2015. Tar spot appears as raised, black, circular spots on the top side of corn leaves (Figure 1).

Figure 1. (Photo Credit: Tiffanna Ross, Purdue)

In 2021, tar spot was confirmed in several states including Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, and expanding into nearby states and other areas (Figure 2).

Figure 2. 2021 Tar Spot Map Source: Corn ipmPIPE

Yield Losses and Impact

According to the Crop Protection Network, severe tar spot outbreaks can reduce yield by more than 30 bushels per acre. Reduced ear weight, poor kernel fill, loose kernels, and vivipary (a condition in which the seed germinates while still on the cob) contribute to the yield losses. Severe tar spot has also been noted to weaken stalks, creating lodging in fields. Forage quality may also be reduced due to severe tar spot.

Management Recommendations

Create a management plan to combat tar spot in fields. This plan may utilize several best management practices including crop rotation, residue management, proper hybrid selection, and fungicide application(s).

Fungicide applications are designed to protect yields and minimize additional yield loss. Piggy-backing foliar fertilizers with fungicide applications is an efficient way to provide nutrients to growing crops to maximize yields. The Andersons High Yield Corn Solutions program outlines specific products to apply throughout the season based on your application timing.

Generally, The Andersons products are compatible with most spray materials. However, always perform a compatibility (jar) test before mixing.


Click here to download The Andersons High Yield Corn Solutions program and get instant product recommendations for application at V5-6, VT, and R3.

To connect with a Territory Manager from The Andersons, please complete this form and a representative will be in contact. 

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