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broken corn stalks Joel Ransom, NDSU Extension Service
BROKEN CORN: This small cornstalk snapped in high winds.

8 things you should know about green snap

The Northern Plains is one of the hot spots for green snap.

Green snap will likely occur in corn someplace in the Dakotas this season. The Northern Plains is one of the hot spots in the U.S. for green snap.

The following are eight facts that Joel Ransom, North Dakota State University Extension agronomist, says you need to know about green snap:

• Green snap and brittle snap are terms used to describe the breakage of corn stems, usually at a node.

• Green snap occurs most commonly after the V4 stage and before tasseling, particularly during periods of rapid vegetative growth.

• Once stems have completed elongation and have lignified, they are quite resistant to snapping.

• After pollination, root lodging may be more likely than snapping, particularly if rooting depth is limited.

• Plants that snap below the ear node will likely not produce an ear.

• The later in the growth cycle that the snapping occurs, the greater the yield loss, as it is difficult for undamaged plants to compensate. This is particularly true of damage that occurs just prior to tasseling.

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• Hybrids vary considerably in their resistance to green snap, but plant stage of development when a strong wind occurs can also affect whether a specific field is damaged or not. Therefore, the same hybrid may suffer damage in one field and little in another simply due to difference in stage of plant development.

• Levels of wind damage may vary greatly from field to field and from farm to farm. This variability is largely due to varying wind gusts or bursts across small geographies. In addition, growing conditions, soil moisture content, crop management practices, hybrid genetics and herbicides may also impact the severity of wind damage in corn. One example of management factors that will increase susceptibility to wind breakage is applying nitrogen in the spring for rapid early-season crop growth.

Reducing exposure
There are some steps you can take to hedge your risks of losing a lot of corn to green snap, according to Ransom:

• Choose hybrids that are more resistant to green snap. There was significant green snap at NDSU’s Traill County corn yield site in 2016, and plant breeders were able to do some useful scoring on green snap susceptibility. See pages 7 and 8 in NDSU’s 2016 corn hybrid testing publication.

• Plant a range of maturities so your crop won’t all be in the same stage of growth at the same time.

• Avoid applying growth regulator herbicides at early stages if the hybrid has low snap scores.

• Plant seed at the proper depth. It will you help avoid shallow nodal root development.

• Use crop insurance. If you have fields where green snap is more likely to occur, perhaps because of the topography, additional insurance may be a good idea.

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