If you feel like you haven’t seen consistently sunny skies in a while, you’re not alone. It’s been a wet few weeks throughout the U.S., reducing drought areas to record lows. While that may be good news overall, with extra moisture also comes flooding and standing water in fields.
For corn growers who have already finished planting, flooding in fields poses a danger to root development that can make crops more susceptible to later-season drought. Early season disease likelihood also increases and plant growth can be stunted because of depleted oxygen in the soil, resulting in bare patches and poor stands.
To minimize the impact of the recent weather to their hybrids, growers should consider the following:
- Evaluate fields following rain: After rain stops, allow the field to dry for about 3 to 5 days before evaluating conditions.
- If corn has not emerged, check seeds for discoloration, a water-soaked appearance, and/or a rotting odor.
- If plants have emerged, split the stems and find the growing point of the plant, which should be below ground until around the V5/V6 stage.
- Healthy growing point should be whitish in color and tissue should be firm.
- Brownish, discolored tissue indicates damage.
- Continue to scout fields, flag a few suspect plants, and check for new leaf growth 4 to 5 days following the rain. Taking before and after pictures of plants can help determine if plants are growing properly.
- Consider replanting: For fields where the rain’s impact was severe, consider whether a replant is necessary.
- Scout flooded areas of the field throughout the year: These areas will most likely be the first to show signs of stalk rots, nutrient deficiencies, and possible other diseases. Conduct stand counts in both affected and unaffected areas to compare and estimate yield potential.
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