Ask the Agronomist: Goss’s Wilt

Thanks for tuning in to our weekly “Ask the Agronomist” Audiocasts! Play the audio file below to listen to Jerry’s response to this week’s question about Goss’s Wilt.


Listen to this week’s Ask the Agronomist for everything you need to know about Goss’s Wilt.

Q: More cases of Sudden Death Syndrome are evident across the country this week, and I’m starting to see Goss’s Wilt in fields where I haven’t seen it before. What can be done to combat these diseases?

A: Sudden Death Syndrome, commonly referred to as SDS, is a cold-borne organism that attaches to the plant. The disease starts in the spring after planting, but symptoms won’t show up until late July to early August. Goss’s Wilt is usually caused by previous damage to the plant, such as hail, and this damage provides passage into the plant for the bacteria.

The best mode of action against these diseases is seed selection. That may sound self-serving coming from a seed salesman, but it is a proven fact that diligent seed selection is key to managing future outbreaks.

Q: Last week we talked extensively about managing SDS in the future. What are some best management practices for Goss’s Wilt?

A: There are other management practices that can be implemented to reduce risk for SDS and Goss’s Wilt. Rotation of corn production for one year allows residue to break down and reduce bacteria populations. Tillage and other practices that encourage residue decomposition will also reduce the amount of bacteria present to infect future corn crops. Good weed management practices can also help control weeds that serve as a source of these diseases.

Q: Goss’s Wilt is something we typically think of as a “western disease.” Why is it becoming more of an issue in the East now?

A: Goss’s Wilt is a disease like any other that will progress and move beyond its initial borders. It is now being seen as far East as Indiana. In 2008, it was reported that Goss’s bacterial wilt and leaf blight caused yield losses of up to 60 bushels per acre in northwestern Indiana. Goss’s Wilt is a growing problem, so to combat this issue, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds has identified 23 hybrids that handle Goss like a Boss.

Q: How can farmers learn more about Goss’s Wilt and Sudden Death Syndrome?

A: We’ll be talking more about weed management strategies and new seed technologies during Latham’s Technology Road Show. The first stop on this tour is Friday, August 19, in eastern Iowa for the 2016 Latham Freedom of Independence Ride.

Q: What is the Freedom of Independence Ride?

A: The Freedom of Independence Ride is Latham’s field day on two wheels! We encourage farmers – even if they’re not Latham® customers – to join this ride. We’ll be covering broad topics that include:

  • Precision Agriculture
  • Cover Crops
  • Next-Generation Weed Management Systems such as Xtend, Balance GT and Enlist

We’ll also make two fun stops. One of those stops has 90 restored antique tractors and another stop will be at Antique Archeology in Le Claire. We’ll also see a demonstration by service dogs in training with Retrieving Freedom Inc. In fact, this ride will help raise funds to train RFI service dogs.

To register for the Freedom Ride and more information on this fun event, visit

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s Ask the Agronomist. We’ll be back again next week to field all of your questions during #grow16.