Tennessee plant pathologist not sounding alarms on target spot yet

Original article and video in Southeast Farm Press

BLOGGER’S NOTE: The Southern IPM Center funded some of Dr. Hagan’s research on target spot, which has helped inform Dr. Kelly’s observations about the disease.

Begin article:

Heather Kelly says she doesn’t want to sound too many alarms about target spot in cotton just yet.

Kelly, Extension plant pathologist with the University of Tennessee, gave growers attending the 2014 Cotton Tour an update on the disease and an opportunity to observe its symptoms in a trial she’s conducting at the West Tennessee Research and Education Center.

There’s no doubt that target spot, which is caused by the fungus Corynespora cassicola, can cause premature defoliation and yield loss in cotton. But, the question is, will it rise to that level in cotton fields in west Tennessee.

“I haven’t really raised a lot of alarm on it; I haven’t put out a news blog on it because I don’t want to raise any flags just yet,” said Kelly. That’s because of research by scientists at Auburn University and the University of Georgia, which indicates the disease may pose different levels of risk depending on location.

“What they (Drs. Austin Hagan of Auburn and Bob Kemerait of Georgia) predict are these different kinds of zones of risk for target spot,” said Kelly, referring to a map of the Delta and Southeast states showing the potential for heavy infections of corynespora disease. “Where they see the loss of 300 to 400 pounds of lint to this disease is in the southern portion of Alabama and Georgia.

“They’re seeing a response to fungicides – usually two applications – here in this high risk area of the Deep South.”

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