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Missing Patches of Corn Plants? Figure Out Why

Categories: GROWING, CORN

There are unfortunately a number of ways young corn plant growth can be halted in its tracks. Disease, herbicide injury, and mismatched herbicides and traits are all potential culprits.

The first step is to determine if the corn plant actually appears to be dying. Rule out any insect or potential disease issues by examining leaves, stems and roots for feeding or disease lesions.

Second, see if you can identify a pattern as to how the dying plants appear across the field. If the entire field appears to be dying, this could result from the wrong chemical being applied to the field. Another possibility is an improper pairing of a herbicide-traited seed and herbicide application.

If entire rows are dying every so often, the wrong herbicide tolerant traited seed may have been dumped into that row of the planter. Another possibility is that there could be a chemical overlap issue. Check the size of chemical applicator boom width to determine if this is the issue.

If you’re finding that plants are randomly scattered across the field, then it could be a herbicide and trait mismatch.

Based on the extent of damage in your fields, here are several possible management options to consider:

  1. Entire field situations:
    • If crop death was due to the wrong herbicide being applied, identify if there are replant restrictions, such as crop type or number of days.
    • If a wrong seed herbicide trait appears to be the culprit, you will need to consider what crop inputs have been applied and whether there are herbicide replant restrictions for other crops.
  2. Entire row concerns:
    • You may want to consider replanting the dead row. If you choose not to replant, your fields may be susceptible to weed control issues.
  3. Scattered plants dying:
    • Perform multiple location checks within the field, at a minimum of 10 locations.
    • At each location, count 100 plants – 50 rows to the left, 50 rows to the right – and record the number of dead or dying plants.
    • Add up the total number of dead or dying plants from all 10 locations and divide by 10 to get the average percent of plants affected.
    • Under normal growing conditions for anything 5% or less, all genetic backgrounds will compensate through neighboring plants’ ability to flex ear size and deepen kernel depth. However, if the percentage of dying plants is greater than 5%, you may want to reconsider just how random the dying plant space really is.

No matter which scenario fits your situation best, your Golden Harvest Seed Advisor can help you determine the best management options for your specific field. Reach out with questions or for additional agronomic insights.

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