Agronomy Talk

Agronomy Update

Micronutrient Uptake Struggles for Indiana Corn and Rapid Growth Syndrome

Published on Monday, June 8, 2015

This summer Christy Kettler, a junior at Purdue University majoring in Agronomy, will be interning here at Beck’s. Working with myself and our area sales team, Christy will be completing intensive crop scouting on 8,500 acres in central Indiana. In addition to scouting diseases, she will also be using pheromone traps to monitor insect moth activity within this area during the entire summer.



Christy Kettler | Sales Intern | Central Indiana


With this information we hope to provide you with details of how many insects are in the area, when we can expect these moths to lay eggs, and the insect larvae to hatch. 


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Micronutrient Uptake Struggles for Indiana Corn
and Rapid Growth Syndrome

June 1 – June 5, 2015

The effects of cloudy skies and wet soil were prominent throughout the fields this week. Cool temperatures and heavy rain contributed to a continuous purple pattern on corn. The areas that took on heavy rains through the final days of May are showing these purple leaves, commonly referred to as “purple corn”, as a result of waterlogged soils where the fibrous root system in corn has been limited to growth.

The fibrous roots are responsible for the uptake of micronutrients like phosphorous, sulfur, manganese, and zinc. When the roots cannot find these nutrients, the plant will show the signs of nutrient deficiencies. The purple leaves indicate a lack of phosphorous in the plant which is commonly due to saturated soils where the roots cannot breathe. 


 
Phosphorous deficiency from cool temperatures and saturated soils.


Another common sign of nutrient deficiencies I have found in most fields is the distinct yellow striping between veins on a corn leaf. This indicates a similar issue, where the plant cannot take up manganese, zinc, or sulfur. These corn plants are in the V3-V5 growth stage. With the crop being young, it will grow out of the discoloration with warmer conditions.



Manganese deficiency from cool weather.


There were also a few cases of rapid growth syndrome on some corn. This is generally a result of extended cloudy, cool periods before a time of warm temperatures and sunshine on corn around the V5 growth stage. We have only noticed this on a small portion of the field and in no continuous pattern. The look of it may be concerning to some growers, but rest assured, it will not decrease yield or plant health.

Last Thursday, June 4th, I headed to Marion, Indiana to evaluate the hail damage on corn and soybeans. Though areas of the corn appeared demolished, as long as the growing point can make its way through the ragged leaves above it, the plant will recover and still produce a 95 percent yield potential. Young  corn has an amazing ability to recover from early season damage but patience is required to allow the damaged plants enough time to visibly demonstrate whether they will recover or not. Damaged but viable plants will usually show noticeable recovery from the whorl within 3-5 days with favorable weather and moisture conditions.

Yield loss from hail damage is mainly due to two factors, stand reduction and leaf area reduction. Evaluation of hail damaged fields should not be attempted the day after the storm occurs because it is very difficult to determine which plants will survive and which will die.

These corn plants could be mowed off to help the growing point push through and grow quicker, but it is not required. These plants were around the V4 growth stage, so the growing point was right at ground level and protected from the hail’s direct impact. The soybeans, which appeared dead at first glance, still had the auxiliary buds intact so yield should not be affected. With both crops still having the proper parts to continue growth, there shouldn’t be a need for replant as a result of the hail.


       
Hail damage on V4 corn

The insect traps did not show much moth flight this week. The rain over the weekend most likely killed the moths when their wings got wet. There were findings of black cutworm moths in north central Indiana, however they are of no concern to these farmers because the crop is beyond the growth stage that they will affect yield. 


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As Christy continues to monitor moth captures, diseases and insects throughout the summer, we will send out detailed reports to keep you aware of these findings on both corn and soybeans. If you have any questions about these findings or would like more information, please reach out to myself or your seed advisor for more information. 

 



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