Sooty mold in corn turning combines black in Minnesota

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Sooty mold in corn turning combines black in Minnesota

Photo credit: Cory Sinn

Some Minnesota farmers are seeing a unique harvest phenomenon known as “sooty mold.”

University of Minnesota Integrated Pest Management Specialist Bruce Potter says tiny spores are turning combines black.

“They’re harmless to the corn and is growing on the outside of the plant, the stems and leaves. It’s similar to the mold you see when you have soybean aphids and get some discoloration on those plants.”

He tells Brownfield abnormal warmth and humidity at harvest is causing the sooty mold, and earlier maturing hybrids are most effected.

“It seems to be a lot worse where some of this corn died early. We saw something similar with a lot of black soybeans in some of these beans that died earlier in the year, and as those beans sat out there for awhile it gives these fungi a chance to grow on the outside of the plants.”

Potter says while he’s not aware of any problems severe enough to plug engine filters, it is possible.  And unless someone has an allergy, he says the fungi are not known to be toxic.

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