How Indiana-based AgReliant Genetics is Battling Tar Spot for 2023 and Beyond

Tar spot has been robbing Indiana’s corn growers of yield over the past several years. That’s why AgReliant Genetics – the makers of AgriGold and LG Seeds – recently held a “Tar Spot Summit” at their headquarters in Westfield to help tackle this issue.
“Some unbelievable brainstorming came out of this over the last 24 hours,” says Mike Kavanaugh, Director of Product Development with AgReliant Genetics. The “Tar Spot Summit” brought together their company’s top agronomists – as well as farmers and local scientists from Purdue, Michigan State and the University of Wisconsin – all to address the latest developments in fighting off this fungus.

A panel discussion on tar spot pathology and breeding for tar spot tolerance during the AgReliant Genetics “Tar Spot Summit.” From left to right: Peter Lynch, Shaylyn Long, Benzon Lorenzana and Brian Foss. Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

“We feel like it starts with the seed and with genetics first,” says Kavanaugh. “We’ve identified several inbreds and several hybrids across our portfolios that have excellent tar spot tolerance. There’s nothing that is resistant out there but we’re finding products that have excellent tolerance.”
Kavanaugh says AgReliant Genetics uses nearly 200 pre-commercial research locations to run more than 700 trials on about 400 new products – all with the goal of finding that right corn hybrid that shows the least amount of impact from the disease.
“Our pre-commercial researches are definitely unique to AgReliant Genetics,” according to Kavanaugh. “That’s what gives us an edge on products at every maturity. That’s what gives our customers an edge. They can feel confident when we bring a new product out. It’s a rock-solid product on yield, agronomics, test weight, grain quality, and even tolerant to the right diseases in the right environment.”
Even though heat and drought stress helped minimize to some of the harmful effects of tar spot in 2022 – that all could change in 2023.
“What we do know is the spread of tar spot has been significant since 2017,” says Kavanaugh. “It continues to spread like wildfire across Indiana north-to-south, across Illinois north-to-south, and even to the west. We don’t know what Mother Nature is going to do, but we can take a preventative approach and make sure that we have the right products to put in the planter next spring.”
For more information about the tar spot tolerant hybrids from AgReliant Genetics – visit or  
Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s news report and interview with Mike Kavanaugh, Director of Product Development with AgReliant Genetics.

Mike Kavanaugh, Director of Product Development with AgReliant Genetics, speaks about future tar spot solutions during the company’s “Tar Spot Summit” at their headquarters in Westfield, Indiana on Nov. 29, 2022. Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

Recommended Posts