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Stress: It’s Bad For Your Corn, Too

January 21, 2021

2018: Francesville, IN: An early-season weed competes with corn for valuable nutrients.

Stress is bad for you, and too much can have a negative impact on your performance. But did you know it’s bad for your corn’s performance, too? Managing your corn’s stress level can protect its yield potential, and it all starts with good, early-season weed management.

The most problematic weeds aren’t the ones that come up a month or two post-growth. The ones present at emergence immediately compete for the same resources that your corn uses for growth, and the resulting lack of available nutrients can limit yield potential.

Syngenta studies found that 1-2” weeds consumed over 9 lbs. of nitrogen per acre, and in 3 days, 3” weeds can remove 1” of water from the soil.*

Regardless of how they compete, the key point is that the most competitive weeds will be the ones that come up the same time your corn does, because corn can experience yield loss due to weed competition when weeds are a few inches tall or less.

Weeds present at corn emergence are an immediate source of stress and can fundamentally alter growth. As soon as those weeds start to emerge, the corn starts to react differently and as a result, the plant:

  • Tries to grow taller and wider in an attempt to outgrow the weeds, leading to a lack of root growth, so you get a taller plant with fewer roots.
  • Grows leaves down the row instead of out into the row, meaning the plant gets less sunlight, which is not optimum for a corn plant early in the season.

Apart from competing for vital nutrients, there are some lesser-known consequences of having early-season weed competition due to the underdeveloped root system. You may think it’s about what you can see above-ground, but it’s really about what’s happening below ground. You have fewer roots for the plant to handle stress and take up nutrients. Later on in the season, the plant is hurt by a lack of moisture and high heat, or even insects. All those things can compound the problem.

This graph shows corn root growth comparison

For corn growers looking to manage tough weeds before they cause undue stress, Acuron® corn herbicide can protect the plant against yield-robbing weeds and unlock corn’s full yield potential. Acuron contains 4 active ingredients, including the unique component bicyclopyrone, which enable it to protect corn from tough weeds better and more consistently than any other herbicide, while also providing long-lasting residual of more than 70 tough grass and broadleaf weeds until crop canopy and beyond. Acuron has been proven to provide excellent preemergent and post-emergent crop safety across a wide range of soil types, weather conditions and plant genetics. This combination of powerful weed management, proven crop safety and additional long-lasting residual is what enables Acuron to deliver 5 – 15 more bushels an acre than any other herbicide.**

Calculate the extra revenue potential you could find next season with Acuron.

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All photos and videos are either the property of Syngenta or are used with permission.

The trademarks or service marks displayed or otherwise used herein are the property of a Syngenta Group Company. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


*2006 Syngenta trial: York, NE.

**Yield advantage range based on 2016 Syngenta and university replicated trials comparing Acuron to Corvus®, Resicore®, SureStart® II and Verdict®. For more information on Acuron versus an individual product, ask your Syngenta representative.

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