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Bayer Crop Science Advances Tar Spot Tolerance Research

Bayer Crop Science Advances Tar Spot Tolerance Research

By Andi Anderson

Bayer Crop Science has achieved a groundbreaking advancement in tar spot research by successfully inoculating the disease in field test plots. This milestone marks a significant step forward in understanding and managing tar spot, a pathogen known to severely impact crop yield.

Christian Heredia, Bayer Crop Science market development manager, emphasized the importance of this development in advancing both genetic research and crop protection strategies against tar spot. By artificially creating conditions conducive to tar spot and inoculating the field, researchers now have a reliable platform to study the disease's environmental and genetic responses.

The acceleration of tar spot research in the U.S., particularly after a widespread epidemic in the Midwest in 2018, underscores the urgency and potential impact of integrating native tar spot tolerance into North American corn hybrids. Heredia highlighted the game-changing potential of this research for farmers, offering new avenues for managing and mitigating the effects of tar spot.

Field inoculation of tar spot represents a significant achievement, enabling researchers to study and learn more about the disease's behavior and impact in field conditions. Previously, researchers had to rely on natural occurrences of tar spot, limiting their ability to control and replicate study conditions effectively.

The field inoculation process is part of Bayer Crop Science's comprehensive research and development pipeline, which saw a significant investment of over $2.6 billion in 2022. This investment underscores Bayer's commitment to delivering innovative solutions for managing and controlling diseases like tar spot, through both genetic advancements and innovations in fungicide technology.

Jim Donnelly, DEKALB Agronomist, emphasized the importance of a holistic approach to disease management, which includes hybrid selection, scouting, fungicide application, and general disease management practices. While research continues on genetic tolerance, Donnelly assured farmers of Bayer's dedication to providing effective solutions to combat tar spot and protect corn crop performance.

As Bayer continues to advance tar spot research, farmers can anticipate new advancements in seed technology and crop protection strategies, offering multiple options for effectively managing this yield-threatening disease.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-songdech17

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