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Epidemics and Yield Losses due to Corynespora cassiicola on Cotton

Bowen, Kira L., Hagan, Austin K., Pegues, Malcolm, Jones, Jarrod, Miller, H. Brad
Plant disease 2018 v.102 no.12 pp. 2494-2499
Corynespora cassiicola, cultivars, defoliation, disease outbreaks, foliar diseases, fungicides, growth models, lint cotton, logit analysis, pathogens, pesticide application, rain, seed cotton, temperature
Target spot, caused by Corynespora cassiicola, has recently emerged as a problematic foliar disease of cotton. This pathogen causes premature defoliation during boll set and maturation that can subsequently impact yield, and on certain cotton cultivars loss can be substantial. This study sought to better understand target spot epidemics and disease-incited yield losses on cotton. In order to establish a range of disease, varying numbers of fungicide applications were made to each of two cotton cultivars in each of four site-years. Target spot intensity was rated over several dates beginning in late July or early August and continuing into September. Yield of seed plus lint (seed cotton) was recorded at harvest. When analyzed across cultivars, a second or third fungicide application increased yield compared with no treatment. Lack of significant yield response with a single fungicide application may have been due to timing of that application which preceded disease onset. The cultivar PhytoGen 499 WRF had consistently greater defoliation than any of the three Deltapine cultivars grown in each site-year. However, yields of both cultivars responded similarly to the fungicide regimes. Yield loss models based on late August defoliation were only predictive at site-years where conditions favored target spot development, i.e., abundant rain and moderate temperatures. Epidemic development fit the Gompertz growth model better than it did a logistic model. Knowledge of the underlying mathematical character of the epidemiology of target spot will prove useful for development of a predictive model for the disease.