Source: The Standard, FarmKenya [edited]
Farmers contracted to grow certified maize seeds in Baringo are staring at losses following [an] outbreak of maize rust disease. There are 8 farmer-managed schemes contracted to plant seed maize on 3000 acres [1214 hectares].
[One farmer] said the crop germinated evenly, but was hit by the fungal disease at the flowering stage and [the disease] was spreading fast. "Several varieties of maize were grown, but the disease affected one variety that we fear might cause us more losses," [he] said. Leaves of the crop appeared brown and rusty.
Kenya Seeds Company that contracted [the] farmers are inspecting the farms. [They] attributed the disease to cold weather following heavy rains, saying it could be managed by spraying fungicides. Extension officers have been sent to the ground to find mitigation measures.
[There are 3 rusts affecting maize: common rust caused by _Puccinia sorghi_; southern rust caused by _Puccinia polysora_; and tropical rust caused by _Phakopsora zeae_. (For more information, see previous ProMED-mail posts in the archives and links below.)
Rust spores are wind dispersed over long distances. They can also be spread by mechanical means (human or insect activities) and on contaminated materials (equipment, clothing, crop debris). The fungi need living tissue to survive between seasons. Volunteer crop and wild host plants may generate a "green bridge" providing inoculum to infect new crops. Disease management relies mainly on timely fungicide applications, choice of crop cultivars, and control of volunteer crop plants. Early discovery of infection is important so action can be taken to limit pathogen spread as well as build-up of inoculum.
Symptoms of some maize diseases via:
Information on common and southern maize rusts via:
List of major diseases and pathogens of maize:
Fungal taxonomy and synonyms via: