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Midwest Crop Report: 7 Yield Threats To Watch Now

Jun 17, 2020

Across the Corn Belt farmers are seeing vastly different crop conditions. Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, for example, have stellar stands and conditions. Indiana and Illinois, on the other hand, are replanting and continuing to get excess rain.

So, what should you scout for now? It depends, but here are some tips from Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie about what he’s seeing across the Midwest.

  • Ugly corn syndrome: If you’re seeing more ugly, yellowish corn than you’re used to there’s are a few reasons. If you’ve had more rainfall, the surface nitrogen has been pushed farther down into the soil. Fast growth in the corn crop from heavy rains also means those soil microbes are at a high level of activity, too. In addition, high carbon loads often cause yellow corn—so corn-on-corn or areas that had cover crops are more likely to show this phenomenon.
  • Rootless corn syndrome: For areas that have drier soils on top, it could bring more challenges to growing corn. Alternately, sidewall compaction and no-till soils with an open furrow can also create rootless corn syndrome. Crown roots don’t grow in dry soil, which means the plant will be held up by the seed roots, which means the plant can be floppy or fall as it gets bigger and can’t support its own weight.
  • Cutworm: Look for the small black worm in smaller fields especially as they’re still causing damage and it’s worse in smaller corn fields.
  • Armyworm: Feeding reports are coming in for wheat, oats and corn planted into covers. Row crop fields next to forage fields with feeding also need to be scouted because the pest can move from one field to another.
  • Rootworm: 50% are hatched and larva are starting to feed. Scouts can start doing root floats at the end of next week to get an idea on field pressure and resistance issues.
  • Wireworm: Reports are still coming in about wireworm damage leading to death. Be sure to map those areas out as they’ll be an issue in future years.
  • Corn borer: This won’t be everywhere, but in areas with non-GMO corn or organic it’s important to watch for the pest and take action quickly. Start scouting non-traited fields by the end of the week and look for sharp holes in the whorl.
Listen to Ferrie’s latest Boots In the Field podcast for more info

Sonja Begemann

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