Southern rust found in Jefferson County corn, experts say

Southern rust has been confirmed in four Jefferson County cornfields and University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture experts are advising corn growers to scout for signs of the fungus in their fields.

Travis Faske, extension plant pathologist with the U of A said Wednesday that the disease appeared in Arkansas about a month after being spotted in Louisiana. Conditions that favor disease consist of high temperatures – 80 to 90 degrees F, high relative humidity, and frequent rainfall.

The fungus that causes southern rust, Puccinia polysora, creates round or oval pustules that are orange or light cinnamon-colored. In Jefferson County, symptoms appeared in “one of every 20 plants in the fields,” Faske said.

Jason Kelley, extension agronomist for the U of A, said southern rust shows up every year.

“Right now, the concern is whether or not the corn is far enough along not to be damaged by southern rust,” he said. “Producers should be scouting to see if any southern rust is present before deciding whether to spray a fungicide or not.”

Because southern rust can be confused with other diseases, growers unsure of the symptoms should take samples to their county extension office for testing.

Details: Visit or contact the county extension office.

The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and offers its programs to all eligible persons without discrimination.