Farm Progress

Both corn planted early and corn planted late will need scouting and monitoring this fall.

Tom J Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

July 18, 2017

3 Min Read
REMEMBER MID-JUNE? There were crops that looked like this or even smaller, as well as fields where plants were nearly head-high, all within a few miles of each other. Continue scouting them all, advise agronomists.

Scouting cornfields in late summer may not seem like your idea of fun, but it could be time well spent. That’s advice from Chasitie Euler, an accounts manager with DuPont Pioneer covering several counties in northwest Ohio. “The big range in corn planting dates and the type of season we’ve had will impact what happens toward the end of the season,” she notes.

Both planting conditions during the spring and planting dates were highly variable. Big rains in May and even into June pounded parts of Indiana and Ohio. However, part of the area where Euler works was missed by several big rains. Crops were looking for moisture at midsummer in those locations.

Here are things Euler thinks may be important to watch for as the growing season winds down.

Insects. Western bean cutworm moth counts were higher than normal near midsummer, Euler notes. That could pose a threat for hybrids that don’t have good GMO protection against this insect.

“Some people think later-planted corn might escape these problems,” she says. “However, my advice is to scout from now to harvest no matter when your corn was planted.”

Damage from seedling disease. Some fields planted in mid- to late April where big rains and cool temperatures followed were impacted by seedling diseases. Some stands were thinned, but in many cases, the plants may have survived, Euler says. However, the primary root system was likely damaged. She believes the end result may be that early-planted corn which went through stressful conditions might be subject to root diseases and stalk rots as harvest approaches.

“I would certainly keep an eye on those fields,” she says. “The stress which occurred early in the season can definitely play a role in setting those plants up for disease problems and lodging as harvest gets closer.”

The practical application would be scouting to determine which fields should be harvested first, Euler adds.

•  Soil compaction issues. Not all of the soil compaction issues that occurred with this crop were in fields planted early, Euler says. As the calendar got later and a grower’s back was against the wall, he or she may have planted corn late, but still planted into conditions that were wetter than he or she would have liked.

“That may have resulted in sidewall compaction in some cases,” she says. “You will want to watch how well later corn stands, too.”

Running out of time. Some corn planted in the second week of June may find itself hustling to mature before a killing frost, Euler observes. Later-planted corn of the same hybrid does require 200 fewer growing degree days to mature on average than the same hybrid planted on time. That’s according to work by Robert Nielsen of Purdue University Extension and Peter Thomison of Ohio State University Extension.

Even so, some fields may still be harvested wetter than you like and cause you to rack up drying charges this fall, Euler notes. It will be a good year to make sure your dryer is ready. If you have any later-planted corn, odds are you may need it.

About the Author(s)

Tom J Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

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