Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801
Department of Plant Pathology, University of Florida, IFAS, Everglades Research Station, Belle Glade 33430-8003
Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois
Department of Plant Pathology, University of Florida
Reactions of supersweet (sh2) sweet corn to northern leaf blight (NLB) and associated yields were evaluated in Belle Glade, Florida and Urbana, Illinois in yield-loss trials, hybrid evaluations, and evaluations of breeding materials. Hybrids differed significantly for NLB in all trials. Severity of NLB ranged from 0 to 66% on 35 sh2 hybrids in yield-loss trials, and from 0 to 60% on 80 sh2 hybrids in hybrid evaluations. NLB ratings ranged from 1 to 9 (approximately 0 to 80% severity) on 375 hybrids and 186 inbred lines in evaluations of breeding materials. Various methods of rating NLB and ratings from multiple dates were highly correlated, with correlation coefficients ranging from 0.76 to 0.98. Yield, measured as weight of ears and number of marketable ears from inoculated plots as a percentage of that from control plots, decreased as disease severity increased. Linear or quadratic regression models explained 31 to 70% of the variation in percent yield as a function of disease severity at harvest. The effects of NLB on yield were limited by NLB-resistance in several hybrids, including CCO 3268, Chieftain, Crisp N Sweet 710A, Day Star, Envy, Forever, GSS 1526, Jupiter, Midship, Prime Plus, Sch 5005, and SummerSweet 7630. Although high levels of partial resistance to NLB were prevalent among 375 new experimental sh2 hybrids and 186 sh2 inbred lines evaluated in 1995, use of the gene HtN may increase in the near future as breeders are incorporating this resistance into new inbreds and hybrids. Breeders and plant pathologists would be wise to continue improving partial resistance to NLB without using the gene HtN in genotypes with adequate levels of partial resistance, because the widespread use of the gene HtN will select for virulent races of Exserohilum turcicum which occur in Florida, or for races with new combinations of virulence.