Seedling Disease of Corn Caused by Pythium Increases With Proximity of Rye

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Kurtz, Sarah
Acharya, Jyotsna
Kaspar, Thomas
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Robertson, Alison
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Plant Pathology and Microbiology
The Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology and the Department of Entomology officially merged as of September 1, 2022. The new department is known as the Department of Plant Pathology, Entomology, and Microbiology (PPEM). The overall mission of the Department is to benefit society through research, teaching, and extension activities that improve pest management and prevent disease. Collectively, the Department consists of about 100 faculty, staff, and students who are engaged in research, teaching, and extension activities that are central to the mission of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The Department possesses state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities in the Advanced Research and Teaching Building and in Science II. In addition, research and extension activities are performed off-campus at the Field Extension Education Laboratory, the Horticulture Station, the Agriculture Engineering/Agronomy Farm, and several Research and Demonstration Farms located around the state. Furthermore, the Department houses the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic, the Iowa Soybean Research Center, the Insect Zoo, and BugGuide. Several USDA-ARS scientists are also affiliated with the Department.
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The Department of Agronomy seeks to teach the study of the farm-field, its crops, and its science and management. It originally consisted of three sub-departments to do this: Soils, Farm-Crops, and Agricultural Engineering (which became its own department in 1907). Today, the department teaches crop sciences and breeding, soil sciences, meteorology, agroecology, and biotechnology.

The Department of Agronomy was formed in 1902. From 1917 to 1935 it was known as the Department of Farm Crops and Soils.

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  • Department of Farm Crops and Soils (1917–1935)

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Iowa Nutrient Research Center
The Iowa Nutrient Research Center was established to pursue science-based approaches to evaluating the performance of current and emerging nutrient management practices and providing recommendations on practice implementation and development. Publications in this digital repository are products of INRC-funded research. The INRC is headquartered at Iowa State University and operates in collaboration with the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa. Additional project information is available at:
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Plant Pathology and MicrobiologyAgronomyIowa Nutrient Research Center

Yield loss of corn following a winter rye cover crop (CC) has been associated with increases in seedling disease caused by Pythium spp. We hypothesized that physical separation between the CC and corn could reduce the risk of seedling disease, and benefit corn growth and development. In a growth chamber experiment, corn seedlings were planted at 0 cm and 8 to 10 cm from terminated winter rye plants. Root rot severity was assessed at crop development stage V2, and quantitative PCR was used to estimate the abundance of Pythium clade B and clade F members present in corn roots. Radicle and seminal root rot severity was numerically greater when seedlings were planted 0 cm from terminated rye plants compared with seedlings planted 8 to 10 cm away. Moreover, a greater abundance of Pythium clade B was detected in corn grown within the terminated winter rye compared with corn planted further away (P = 0.0003). No effect of distance between corn and winter rye was detected for Pythium clade F. These data contribute to our understanding of the effect of a winter rye cover crop on corn and will inform field trial management practices for farmers to reduce occasional yield loss of corn following a winter rye cover crop.


This article is published as Kurtz, Sarah M., Jyotsna Acharya, Thomas C. Kaspar, and Alison E. Robertson. "Seedling disease of corn caused by Pythium increases with proximity of rye." Plant Disease 105, no. 3 (2021): 538-541. doi:10.1094/PDIS-06-20-1389-SC.