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Alfalfa Disease Widespread in Five States
Caroline Hugh
| November 9, 2007
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A fungus that attacks a key source of feed for dairy cows has been found in farm fields in New York, Pennsylvania and three other Northeastern states. Scientists at Cornell University in Ithaca say brown root rot was detected in eight of 10 fields sampled in New York, six of seven fields checked out in Vermont and five of six fields sampled in New Hampshire. A spokesman for the New York Farm Bureau calls the numbers alarming. The samplings were conducted in 2005. Since the study was done, scientists say the disease also has been found in Pennsylvania and Maine. The fungus attacks alfalfa and clover with rotting brown lesions. There are currently no effective treatments or controls for brown root rot. Feed stock such as alfalfa is an important crop for dairy farmers.
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