In 2021, Illinois farmers saw an early uptick in tar spot outbreaks in corn across the state, says Erika Parker, precision agronomist at Advanced Agrilytics. In fact, she spotted the disease on July 22 in northern Illinois — one month earlier than typically experienced.
Why? A susceptible host, favorable environment and the pathogen occurred at the same time, and it just so happened to be one month ahead of previous years, which resulted in more people experiencing significant damage. The “disease pyramid” worked against crops and farmers last year.