You won’t know where you’re missing plants — and why — unless you do some investigative work when the problem appears. This field was affected by three weeks of cold, wet weather after planting. Spots without proper tile drainage were impacted the most.
Some of these plants knocked over during sidedressing may recover, and some may not. If you don’t scout early, you may not be able to determine why plants are missing later. If you find this situation and it’s widespread across the field, you can make adjustments to prevent it in the future.
IT’S A WEED
The plant on the left in the upper row is behind its neighbor, and will likely become a weed. Or as Dave Nanda says, worse than a weed! You can eliminate weeds with herbicides, but you can’t kill corn plants.
WHAT HAPPENED HERE?
Something caused the corn planter to belch out way too much corn on these rows. The stand is about one-third thicker than it’s supposed to be. If you find this once, it may not be a big deal. If it repeats across the field, it’s worth diagnosing what caused the problem with your planter.
NO PICKET FENCE STAND
You don’t need a tape measure to know the stand in these two rows isn’t uniformly spaced. Some digging might help you figure out if gaps are due to seed that didn’t germinate, or if no seed was dropped there in the first place.
2 PLANTING DATES
Here’s a case where no-tilling corn back into existing rows in the worst areas of the field likely paid. Note the runs of smaller corn from the second planting. This strategy will work in this case because all the plants from the second planting are the same size. It doesn’t work when small plants and large plants are interspersed frequently due to trying to fill in gaps from early poor emergence.
FIND CUTWORM DAMAGE
John Obermeyer, Purdue Extension Entomology
This seedling was cut by a black cutworm larva. You will need to scout entire fields to find these insects, because they typically affect areas within fields rather than entire fields.