What will you see when you begin scouting corn as it grows this season? Weather conditions and when you were able to plant will play a large role in what you might find as you begin walking your own cornfields.
Dave Nanda, director of genetics for Seed Genetics Direct, has encountered lots of different situations while walking cornfields during his long career. For the past several years, he has scouted the Corn Watch program field, which is a Farm Progress project sponsored by Seed Genetics Direct.
The purpose of Corn Watch is to follow a field in the eastern Corn Belt from planting to harvest and see how it develops, Nanda says. Some of the things that Nanda spots in this commercial cornfield could be similar to what you are seeing in your fields. The goal is to help you home in on where to focus your attention as you scout, and to increase your knowledge base so you can make more informed management decisions, both this year and in future years, Nanda says.
“We never know how a season will turn out or what situations we might encounter,” he explains. “At the end of the season, I sit down and write down all the lessons I learned or relearned because of things I observed during the year. After 2020 alone, with the help of some other people who also walked cornfields, I compiled a list of over 30 lessons, just from last year and primarily from the Corn Watch field. I never stop learning about corn!”
Take time to check out the pictures in this slideshow. They represent things Nanda has observed during the Corn Watch project last year and in previous years. Look for updates every Tuesday on the website as the season progresses. You will also find a monthly update in your Farm Progress magazine.