Corn Harvest Alert: Current Weather Conditions Are Ripe For Lodging

Harvest delays caused by the onslaught of wet and unusually cold October weather are adding another stress to this year’s predicted near record corn crop. Conditions are ripe for stalk lodging, says Dan Froehlich, agronomist with The Mosaic Company.

“There are a number of factors that contribute to stalk lodging, and this year, conditions have been right. The odds are stacking up against the crop,” Froehlich says. “The cool growing season resulted in corn plants that were taller than normal and heavily vegetated with large ears. Toward the end of the season as the crop approached black layer, dry conditions across much of the Corn Belt put moisture stress on plants which caused them to rob nutrients from the stalks to complete ear fill, weakening stalks.”

Quite often, weak stalks are a result of the plant cannibalizing and remobilizing sugars out of the lower stalk to feed the ear. This stress, coupled with other less evident issues such as disease and soil nutrient imbalances or deficiencies add up to a precarious situation.

“It can be easy to forget the importance of sound management as the season progresses, but hybrid selection for stalk strength and disease resistance, as well as cultural practices such as rotation and a proper nutrition program play important roles literally until the crop is in the bin,” says Froehlich. In addition to choosing genetics that offer disease resistance and season-long standability, giving the crop the right nutrition ensures plants will perform to their full potential to yield and stand through harvest.

“Nutrient imbalances and/or deficiencies predispose corn plants to stalk rot and stalk lodging. Growers who built their nutrition program around nitrogen this year and limited other nutrients to control costs, may have fields that are at higher risk for stalk lodging,” Froehlich explains.
For example, where growers applied high nitrogen (N) levels but cut back or omitted potassium (K), stalk rot may be more prevalent. High nitrogen levels enhance lush vegetative growth, while low potassium levels increase the amount of premature stalk death. On the flip side, low levels of soil nitrogen may result in less vigorous plants which put all their available energy into producing grain. This leaves the stalk vulnerable to stalk rot organisms and, ultimately, stalk lodging.

As wet conditions delay the combines, monitoring fields for potential stalk lodging will help growers manage their harvest to avoid or minimize losses. Froehlich says there are a couple of ways to look for signs of stalk quality issues; pinch or push.

First, inspect susceptible fields regularly, checking plants within the field away from the outside rows. Be sure to choose your sampling areas to adequately reflect soil types, soil drainage patterns, hybrids, rainfall differences, and soil fertility levels. To estimate how much stalk rot is present, pinch stalks near the ground and up toward the ear on a number of plants in a sampling area. A hollow shell that collapses easily means advanced stages of stalk rot.

The second method involves pushing the stalks to check their resistance and flexibility. If a plant can be pushed away to arms’ length without breaking and it returns to upright when released, it is likely healthy enough to stand through harvest.

If a stalk-quality problem is identified, there are several harvest options:

• Harvest the affected areas first. Don’t let problem fields remain unharvested any longer than absolutely necessary, particularly when the grain is physiologically mature.

• Harvest the affected areas slower than usual. Where stalks are weak or already lodging, harvest corn at a slower speed to avoid knocking corn down and to pick up lodged ears. Gathering-chain speeds and snapping-roll velocity should be correspondingly reduced to match ground speed. Run combine snouts and gathering chains as low as possible to pick up downed corn.

• Under severe stalk lodging conditions, harvest against the direction of the lodging. Consider adjusting combine gathering chains and rolls inward as close as possible to grip rotten stalks.

Future Preventive Measures
The 2010 harvest is a long time away, but to avoid future harvest losses, now is the time to think about why certain fields or areas of fields exhibited weak stalks or lodging. Were the best choices made in regard to hybrid selection, fertility levels, plant populations, pest control, or cultural practices? If not, which factors can be changed to avoid challenges next year?

“Harvest is certainly a great time to schedule soil testing for the coming year’s crop,” says Froehlich. “With 40 to 60 percent of yield related to fertility management, knowing the level of soil nutrients available is critical to providing next year’s crop with the nutrition it will need for optimum yield and profitability.”

For more information about proper crop nutrition, soil testing and the importance of balanced soil fertility, visit www.Back-to-Basics.net.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Tools & Smart Equipment Stories
John-Deere-labs
Tools & Smart EquipmentHow John Deere’s New AI Lab Is Designing Farm Equipment for a More Sustainable Future
September 15, 2017
On a block in San Francisco’s SoMa district, near LinkedIn’s headquarters and dozens of startups, a 180-year-old company best-known for Read More
Diamondback moth
Tools & Smart EquipmentTechAccel Invests in Unique Sprayable RNAi Pesticide Technology
September 12, 2017
TechAccel, the Kansas City-based technology and venture development company, has announced it has awarded the first grant under its “Path Read More
LettuceBot
Tools & Smart EquipmentThe Tipping Point for Machine Learning in Agriculture
September 8, 2017
At the PrecisionAg Innovation Series earlier this year, retailers and growers both expressed the need to gather data and the Read More
Mark-Nowak.Clark-Township.Faribault-County.buffer-strip
Tools & Smart EquipmentLand O’Lakes SUSTAIN Offers New Precision Technology to Help Minnesota Farmers Protect Water Resources
August 31, 2017
The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources has announced the approval of Ag BufferBuilder, a precision conservation planning tool Read More
Trending Articles
Brazil-Soybean-field
AmericasIPNI Brazil: Precision Agriculture to Improve Nutrient Use Efficiency
October 16, 2017
As I mentioned in my last article, the IPNI Brazil Symposium on Precision Agriculture was held in early October in Read More
Decision Support SoftwareFarmers Edge, Service Provider Talk High-Frequency Imagery Deal
October 11, 2017
As the domestic ag tech market continues to mature and develop as we barrel into 2018, another intriguing partnership has Read More
Corn Field Sunset
Industry NewsEFC Systems’ FieldAlytics Now Available in Canada
September 29, 2017
According to an AgPR news release, FieldAlytics is now available in Canada through FieldAlytics Solutions Canada, Inc. This new company Read More
Decision Support SoftwareSciFi in Ag: Chatbot with your Plants?
September 26, 2017
(Article Notes: This monthly column takes some crazy sounding ideas and applies them to the field of Ag Tech. The Read More
deepfield-robotics-bonirob
Robotics/Labor SaversDeepfield Robotics to Showcase Precision Agriculture Technology at Agrilevante
September 22, 2017
Deepfield Robotics is preparing to showcase its robotics and automation technologies for the agriculture market at the Agrilevante event, in Read More
Farmer with iPad
Australia/New ZealandAgrian Expands into Australia
September 20, 2017
In line with a familiar growth trajectory, Agrian Inc. is moving into Australia with a physical support and sales presence Read More
Latest News
Robotic-Field-Scanner
Specialty CropsOpinion: Agriculture’s Big Data is Coming to You
October 20, 2017
If you think your world is changing at a dizzying pace, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. That’s my takeaway from Read More
Ohio State
Data ManagementRecap: The Ohio State University Explores Ag Tech ROI a…
October 19, 2017
How do soybean producers begin to extract value from the vast selection of digital tools available in agriculture today? At Read More
Industry NewsAGCO, Climate Corp. Announce Digital Partnership
October 19, 2017
AGCO announced today a new digital partnership with The Climate Corp. that will provide AGCO customers the option to connect Read More
Industry NewsFieldReveal Inks Agreement with Texas Agronomy Outfit
October 19, 2017
FieldReveal has entered into an agreement with Ag Producers Cooperative of Dalhart, TX, to offer the full FieldReveal precision ag Read More
corn weather
Data ManagementSeasonal Weather Outlooks: High Risk Worth the Reward?
October 18, 2017
Often, when discussing weather service needs with a potential client, I am asked about the possibility of providing long-range weather Read More
Industry NewsAgDNA Announces Dealership Expansion
October 18, 2017
This week AgDNA surpassed their growth projections, announcing partnerships with eight new multi-store dealerships across the mid-west, mid-south and east Read More
Tomato-crop-India
AsiaIndia Maps 185 Districts Through Remote Sensing for Hor…
October 17, 2017
India’s Union Ministry of Agriculture has mapped 185 districts under a project using remote sensing technology to identify areas best Read More
Brazil-Soybean-field
AmericasIPNI Brazil: Precision Agriculture to Improve Nutrient …
October 16, 2017
As I mentioned in my last article, the IPNI Brazil Symposium on Precision Agriculture was held in early October in Read More
Vector-and-Raster-image
Data ManagementUsing Vector Soil Data in a Raster World?
October 16, 2017
Why spend the time and resources to extract the NRCS ‘Soil SURvey GeOgraphic’ (SSURGO) soil polygons only to display the Read More
Precision Irrigation
Precision Irrigation4 Important Ways Precision Technology Is Impacting Irri…
October 12, 2017
Water management is becoming an increasing concern in agriculture, whether that’s dealing with too much or too little water. This Read More
DronesDroneLife: Global Ag Drone Industry Potentially Worth $…
October 12, 2017
Via DroneLife.com’s Jason Reagan: According to an August study by Esticast Research & Consulting Market Research, the global commercial drone Read More
Decision Support SoftwareFarmers Edge, Service Provider Talk High-Frequency Imag…
October 11, 2017
As the domestic ag tech market continues to mature and develop as we barrel into 2018, another intriguing partnership has Read More
Planet Labs satellite imagery
Industry NewsFarmers Edge, Planet Labs Announce Multi-Year Exclusive…
October 11, 2017
Farmers Edge announced today a strategic partnership to bring Planet’s best-in-class global monitoring platform to the Farmers Edge precision agriculture Read More
John Deere Combine Harvester at Hagen Farms
Decision Support SoftwareAg and Rail Equipment Uptime Critical for Good Harvest
October 9, 2017
Across the American Heartland, growers have started harvesting their crops for what the USDA predicts will be a good yield Read More
Ag Drone
Industry NewsBotlink, SST Announce Integration
October 6, 2017
Botlink has announced a seamless flow of actionable aerial data into the agX Platform. This integration makes it quick and Read More
corn field
Industry NewsEFC Purchases AgSolver Assets, Establishes New Sustaina…
October 6, 2017
EFC Systems announced it has purchased the assets of AgSolver Inc. The move establishes a new Agronomic Planning and Sustainabilty Read More
Ag Retailer and Grower WinField United
Australia/New ZealandNew Technologies vs. Agronomic Knowledge in Precision A…
October 4, 2017
As the days are getting longer and the temperature is starting to rise, Australian broadacre growers are gearing up for Read More
Field Sky Beauty shot
Industry NewsClimate, West Central Distribution Join Forces on Phosp…
October 3, 2017
To help farmers improve productivity and return on their investment, West Central Distribution and The Climate Corporation have teamed up Read More