Recovery plan for tar spot of corn, caused by Phyllachora maydis
Tar spot is a foliar disease of corn threatening production across the Americas. The disease was first documented in Mexico in 1904 and is now present in 15 additional countries throughout Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Researchers and growers in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean consider tar spot to be a disease complex caused by multiple fungal pathogens. When environmental conditions are conducive for infection, these regions have experienced yield losses that can reach up to 100%. In 2015, tar spot was detected in the United States for the first time in Illinois and Indiana. Since that time tar spot has spread across the U.S. corn-growing region, and the disease has been found in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In 2020, tar spot was also found in southwest Ontario, Canada. Losses in the United States due to tar spot totaled an estimated 241 million bushels from 2018 to 2020. With the potential to continue to spread across the U.S. corn-growing states, much greater losses could result when environmental conditions are conducive.