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Improve Stalk Integrity with Late-Season Scouting

Categories: GROWING, CORN

Following a wet spring, farmers may face stalk integrity challenges as harvest approaches. Since high levels of moisture can put stress on the plant, Golden Harvest agronomists recommend scouting your corn fields in the late season for potential concerns.

Keep an eye out for the following conditions which can lead to deteriorated stalk integrity:

  • Nitrogen deficiency: Wet weather leading to saturated soils can potentially result in nitrogen loss. Corn plants typically gather their nitrogen from the ground up through the roots, and if there is not a sufficient amount of nitrogen in the soil, the plant is forced to rob it from its stalks. The plant can only supply so much until it eventually gives out.  To get ahead of this, soil sampling and proper maintenance of soil nutrient levels are recommended.
  • Stalk lodging: Severe weather during the growing season can cause stalk lodging, and ultimately yield loss. According to Purdue University, excessive soil moisture retards root growth and development, leading to a less than optimum root system that cannot adequately support plant growth. Golden Harvest agronomists recommend harvesting lodged corn sooner rather than later.

In order to prevent these challenges next year, agronomists advise farmers to keep the following in mind when planning for the upcoming growing season:

  • Hybrid selection: Farmers may consider selecting a hybrid with higher ratings for stalk strength. Identifying the best-performing hybrid will give your field a genetic advantage over stalk integrity challenges next year. 
  • Fungicide application: Golden Harvest agronomists suggest using fungicides that keep the plant clean from disease. Fungicides can help keep plants healthy and protect them from disease that might otherwise compromise plant strength.
  • Drainage: According to Purdue University, natural or man-made drainage can minimize plant stress due to wet soil conditions. Well-drained soils warm up faster than wet soils in the spring, provide for improved growth and development, and reduce the potential for denitrification of soil nitrogen.

Taking the time to scout your fields now can allow you an opportunity to identify problems your hybrids are facing and better prepare for the next planting season. Contact your Golden Harvest Seed Advisor with questions or for additional agronomic insights.

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