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“One prevention measure is burying your residue with more aggressive tillage. Yet, if you do that but your neighbor doesn't, you could still be at risk for Goss's wilt. We hope to collect more data on this in the next growing season,” Robertson says.
Malvick adds, “There’s minimal evidence that more aggressive tillage will make a big difference in avoiding Goss’s wilt in a particular field, yet people do it because it’s something they can actually do that might make a difference.”
Weed control, especially of grasses, is also vital since grasses are alternate hosts,” Curran says. barnyardgrass, for example, is an alternative host.
But your first line of defense is selecting resistant hybrids and rotating with non-host crops.
One challenge in hybrid selection is the lack of a universal resistance scale across seed companies, Malvick says.
Sprayer damage is what Pioneer Agronomist Jerome Lensing suspects first introduced Goss’s wilt on one farm near Hastings, MN. “Plants were damaged where the sprayer turned around, and then some severe weather splashed the bacteria on the damaged plants.” He speculates that Goss’s outbreaks in other areas are from the movement of residue from infect fields via equipment similar to how weeds and SCN have been spread.
“There’s a lot of concern about Goss's in the countryside, but we really can’t predict what will happen in the future,” Minnesota’s Malvick says. “There is no way to predict what the risk is this year. Weather is part of the equation, like having a lot of rainfall and severe weather through late-July. And the more of the disease already in a field or area the previous year, the higher the risk is. But we don’t really understand all the factors.”
There’s a fine line between vigilance and hysteria, says Pioneer Agronomist Lensing. “I know one grower who reduces his Goss’s risk by burying the residue with tillage, only to have a less vigilant neighbor’s chopped stalks blow onto his fields, potentially contaminating his fields with that blown residue. And then other growers don’t scout so they don’t know if they have a problem till way late in the game.
“I walk a line between too much awareness and not enough, depending on whose farm I’m on.”