Agronomy Talk

AGRONOMY TALK: FLOPPY CORN/ROOTLESS CORN SYNDROME

Published on Wednesday, November 25, 2020

 

 

Floppy corn syndrome is a root development issue that can occur between the V4 to V8 growth stages. This syndrome results in plants “flopping” or tipping over for a period of time and may lead to yield loss if the plants don’t recover. Interestingly, the plant usually shows visual signs before the physical tipping of the plants.

WHAT CAUSES FLOPPY CORN SYNDROME?

Corn experiences this syndrome as a direct result of poor nodal root development. Poor nodal root development can be caused by:

  • Shallow Planting: Less than a 1.5 in. planting depth can compress the nodal roots that develop ¾ in. below the surface.
  • Very Dry Topsoil: Hot, dry conditions can cause the upper surface of the soil to dry out quickly, especially in conventionally-tilled fields. When nodal roots begin developing and don’t encounter moisture, growth can stall, and that node-set might die.
  • Open Seed Trenches: If the seed trenches aren’t sealed properly, then the depth setting set by the planter is less relevant to the plants. This is especially true if conditions are dry and the seed slot re-opens.
  • Genetics: While this is the least common cause for the syndrome, some genetics have a greater tendency for slower nodal root development. However, the syndrome is still caused by planting and weather conditions. 

HOW TO ALLEVIATE FLOPPY CORN SYNDROME

Rain! Getting moisture to the plants is the main way we can help alleviate the condition. If irrigation is available, it can be used as a tool for moisture relief. Otherwise, decent rainfall is needed. Some farmers have had success with row cultivation as this field pass tosses soil over the rows and conceals moisture over the nodal roots to aid the effects of shallow planting. 

 

 

GET MORE: Check out this video on Floppy Corn Syndrome!

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Author: Ben Puestow

Categories: Agronomy, Agronomy Talk

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