Frogeye leaf spot of soybean, caused by Cercospora sojina, is typically a disease of warm and humid regions (2). Although the disease was reported in the Midwest in the 1920s (1), no outbreaks have been recorded in Iowa. Outbreaks of frogeye leaf spot occurred during 1999 in soybean fields in Ames and Grand Junction in central Iowa. During the 2000 growing season, the disease occurred in southwestern, southcentral, central, southeastern, and east-central Iowa. Occurrences of the disease with severity (reduction of green leaf area) greater than 50% were observed in production soybean fields at Grand Junction in central Iowa and Central City in eastern Iowa. In a 12-ha no-till field planted with cv. Asgrow 2501, the disease was noticeable and uniformly distributed in the entire field in mid July. Disease severity in this field was greater than 70% by the end of August. Disease incidence, however, was less than 10% in three adjacent soybean fields. In a soybean performance test at a central Iowa location where the disease occurred in 1999 and 2000, the disease was observed on all 80 varieties, with four having a severity equal to or greater than 40%. Fourteen entries had less than a 10% disease severity and 19 entries had a disease severity equal to or greater than 30%. Infected leaves in these locations had typical lesions of frogeye leaf spot, which appeared as reddish brown margins surrounding light brown or ash gray centers. On the infected tissues, hyaline, straight, and multiseptate conidia from clustered conidiophores were found, isolated, and identified to C. sojina. The relatively warm winter temperatures in 1998 to 1999 and 1999 to 2000 were associated with frogeye leaf spot epidemics. Because of the seedborne nature of C. sojina, efforts are warranted to monitor and survey the occurrence of frogeye leaf spot in Iowa, an important seed production state in the northern soybean production region.
References: (1) K. Athow and A. H. Probst. Phytopathology 42:660--662, 1952. (2) D. V. Phillips. 1999. Pages 20--21 in: Soybean Disease Compendium. Hartman et al. eds, American Phytopathological Society. St. Paul, MN.