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1802 Hill Avenue
Suite B103
Spirit Lake, IA 51360
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High Consequence Plant Diseases/Pests and Your Crops

Crop diseases and pests (insects, mites, weeds, and vertebrates) are one of the top concerns for any farmer. Some of these are of special concern based on their ability to spread rapidly, cause severe disease in plants and devastating economic losses These high consequence diseases include emerging, and “exotic” or foreign diseases of plants. Prevention and rapid detection are essential for minimizing the impact to your crops.


  • Emerging Diseases: Diseases or pests that are newly discovered, have increased in occurrence or have spread to new locations. Examples include: soybean rust, the emerald ash borer.
  • “Exotic” or Foreign Animal Diseases: Diseases or pests not currently found in the U.S., but are present in other areas of the world, thereby making them a potential biological threat to U.S. crops and plants. Examples include: bacterial wilt, brown striped downy mildew.
  • Information on high consequence plant diseases can be found at info/index.shtml

Pest Detection

Most plant pest introductions occur accidentally as a result of increased global travel and trade. Federal and State agencies work together to promptly detect any high consequence plant diseases or pests. These include the USDA Plant Protection and Quarantine, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Plant Diagnostic Network, and others.

Pest Management and Control

Pest management involves measures to reduce pest population or to reduce their harmful effects. Management techniques can be classified into these different categories.

  • Chemical controls.
    • Immediate and temporary elimination of localized pest populations using chemical pesticides.
  • Cultural controls.
    • Farming practices that make the environment less favorable to pests. Examples include: crop rotation, tillage, plant density, timing of harvest, and water management.
  • Biological controls.
    • Biological controls are natural methods of pest management. Predators (e.g., wasps, lacewings, lady beetles), parasites, competitors, and antagonistic microorganisms all fall under the category of biological controls.
  • Integrated pest management. □□Involves diverse methods of pest controls, paired with monitoring to reduce unnecessary pesticide applications; the use of pesticides in combination with other crop management approaches.

Emerging Crop Diseases

New infectious plant diseases and pests are emerging all the time. It is important to stay informed about these threats and know what to look for. Some of the recently significant diseases can be found on the table on the next page.

Regional and national pest alerts can be found at

Prevention: Crop Biosecurity Measures

  • Monitor plants for signs of disease.
    • Routinely inspect your fields for signs of disease or pests.
    • Wear clean shoes and clothing when walking between fields, greenhouses, etc.
  • Restrict access to your farm.
    • Only allow essential workers and vehicles on your farm.
    • Minimize vehicle traffic on your land, especially near fields.
    • Do not allow new or foreign plants to be brought onto your property.
  • Cleaning and disinfection.
    • Clean and disinfect clothes, shoes, equipment, vehicles and hands after contact with plants.
    • Make sure tools are cleaned between fields/greenhouses, or have separate sets for each.
    • Do not share equipment with other farms, unless items have been cleaning and disinfected.
  • For additional biosecurity measures to implement, visit

High Consequence/Emerging Plant Diseases and Pests

Be Prepared

Being prepared can help prevent or minimize the impact on you and your property. Find out how to prepare for various situations here.

We're StormReady!

Dickinson County and eight communities have been certified “StormReady” by the National Weather Service. For more information, click here.

IEMA Member

Iowa Emergency Management AssociationDickinson County Emergency Management is a member of the Iowa Emergency Management Association. To learn more about IEMA, visit their website at