Jeff Burbrink

Jeff Burbrink

Every so often, a new plant disease comes to town. Some of them promise to be plant killers and end up fairly benign. Others, like tar spot on corn, can knock crop yields for a big loop.

2019 was the area’s second year to face tar spot. In fact, the western side of Elkhart County and the eastern portion of St. Joseph County was referred to “Tar Spot Ground Central” at a meeting I attended a few weeks ago. Corn growers commonly said they lost 20 percent of their yield, with a few fields nearing 50 percent by some estimates!

Jeff Burbrink is Agriculture & Natural Resources–Horticulture and Crops educator with Purdue Extension Elkhart County. He can be reached at 574-533-0554 or

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