Field Crop Diseases
Information and Management for Illinois
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Aspergillis Ear Rot


  • Patches of green to yellow spores on or between kernels
  • Most common at tip of ear and scattered on a few kernels on ear
  • The fungus can become dark green to brown as it ages
  • Aspergillus flavus and other Aspergillus can also cause storage rot. In favorable conditions, Aspergillus can invade kernels with moisture levels as low as 14%. Kernels are more likely to be invaded by fungi if they have come from rotted ears or if they have been damaged.

Pathogen Involved

  • Aspergillis flavus
  • This fungus produces aflatoxin, a dangerous mycotoxin
  • Overwinters in plant debris and soil
  • Spread by insects or wind

Time of Occurrence

  • Mid to late in the season
  • Conditions Favoring Disease
  • Hot and dry weather
  • Insect damage to ears
  • Stressed corn plants

Disease Management

  • Reduce plant stress
  • Irrigation or tillage may be of some benefit
  • Some hybrids may develop less susceptible than others
  • Insect control may be helpful
  • Planting may timed to reduce stress after pollination

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