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Sweet Corn High Plains Disease: Control and Prevention

by Gregory
3 minutes read

Sweet Corn High Plains Disease: A Guide for Young Farmers

What is Sweet Corn High Plains Disease?

Sweet corn high plains disease is a viral disease that affects corn, wheat, and certain types of grasses. It was first identified in Idaho in 1993 and has since spread to other states. The virus is transmitted by the wheat curl mite, a tiny wingless mite that is carried from field to field on air currents.

Symptoms of Sweet Corn High Plains Disease

The symptoms of sweet corn high plains disease can vary widely, but may include:

  • Weakened root systems
  • Stunted growth
  • Yellowing of the leaves, sometimes with yellow streaks and flecks
  • Reddish purple discolorations or wide yellow bands on mature leaves
  • The bands turn tan or pale brown as the tissue dies

How to Control Sweet Corn High Plains Disease

Unfortunately, there is no cure for sweet corn high plains disease. However, there are a few things you can do to control the disease and minimize its impact on your corn crop:

  • Control grassy weeds and volunteer wheat in the area around the planting site. These plants can harbor both the disease pathogens and the wheat curl mites that transmit the virus. Control should occur at least two weeks before corn is planted.
  • Plant seeds as early in the season as possible. This will give the corn plants a chance to mature and produce ears before the wheat curl mites become active.
  • Use disease-resistant corn varieties. Some varieties of corn are more resistant to sweet corn high plains disease than others. Ask your local seed dealer for recommendations.
  • Apply insecticides to control wheat curl mites. There are a few insecticides that are effective against wheat curl mites. Your local cooperative extension office can provide more information about these products and whether they are appropriate for your garden.

Additional Information

  • The wheat curl mite can also transmit other viruses, including wheat streak mosaic virus and barley yellow dwarf virus.
  • Sweet corn high plains disease is most common in areas with warm, dry climates.
  • The virus can survive in soil and plant debris for up to two years.


Sweet corn high plains disease is a serious disease that can cause significant losses to corn crops. However, by following the control measures outlined in this article, you can minimize the impact of the disease and protect your corn crop.

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