A rust epiphytotic in 1858 apparently has been overlooked in the study of disease prevalence in Iowa. Early Iowa agricultural records and newspapers contain numerous reports of the calamitous wheat and oat failures caused by rust in 1858; yet this rust year has not been reported in any scientific publication from Iowa. Wheat yielded an average of 4.2 bushels per acre, oats 5.4 bushels, while the yields for 1855 were 14.09 and 32.09 bushels per acre, respectively. County agricultural societies reported either total wheat crop failures or very poor yields, with the exception of Van Buren and Woodbury Counties, which reported "medium" and "fair" yields, respectively. In general, oats were reported as a total failure or seriously injured. Throughout the state grain fields were left uncut, not being worth the expense of harvesting. Losses were attributed to rust and wet weather conditions, with occasional mention of blight and scab. Weather records show that rainfall was excessive during May, June and July, thus providing a favorable environment for the development of a rust epiphytotic.
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science
©1941 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.
Corkle, Marie A. and Melhus, I. E.
"The Earliest Known Epiphytotic of Rust in Iowa (Abstract),"
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, 48(1), 192-193.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/pias/vol48/iss1/23