How long should you continue scouting your cornfields this year? Dave Nanda suggests that you scout until the corn is in the combine hopper. And even then, if you’re storing grain on the farm, scouting doesn’t end. It just switches to monitoring corn in storage.
“You can pick up some problems that you could still do something about this season to prevent yield loss or boost yields yet this year,” Nanda says. He is director of genetics for Seed Genetics Direct. Corn Watch ’21 is sponsored by Seed Genetics Direct.
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“There are other observations you can file away that will be helpful in making adjustments for next season,” Nanda adds. “Scouting tall corn may not be the most pleasant task in the world, but it can have a large payback for time and effort invested.”
Fortunately, today, there are ways to narrow down the areas where you need to walk inside the field once it is tasseling, using drones. If you don’t have your own drone and Part 107 certification from the Federal Aviation Administration, there are crop consultants who may do this task for you. If you can identify areas that look different through aerial scouting with a drone, then you can walk to those spots to ground-truth and determine what is happening in that location.
“Things like crop diseases and nutrient deficiencies or weed problems will likely show up from the air,” Nanda says “Then using GPS, you can walk to the area where there may be a problem. That way you may not have to walk the entire field.”