Fungus Epidemic Is Curbing Output in World’s Biggest Corn Crop
(Bloomberg) -- A fungus is plaguing corn fields in the U.S. Midwest, resulting in “significant yield loss,” according to Purdue University.
An epidemic of so-called tar spot disease is showing up on infected plants as raised, black circular spots on leaves and husks. Long periods of leaf wetness in fields allowed the disease to flourish this year, said Darcy Telenko, a field crop pathologist at Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana.
The fungal issues have hurt U.S. corn yields, reducing harvests in fields in the eastern half of the Midwest. The disease adds to issues like drought and flooding in other areas, which previously sent prices to a near-decade high.
Higher corn prices in the U.S., the world’s biggest producer, means more expensive feed for animals. Such costs can ripple through the world’s supply chains, signaling rising food inflation across the globe.
As of Sunday, the harvest was 10% complete, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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