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Frequent information updates for agricultural audiences

Yield Potential of Ponded Corn - from Mike Roegge

Posted by John Fulton -

How much yield potential is there for these wet areas in corn fields that have corn that's only knee high or less, when the good looking corn is head high? Good question. And what can you do to potentially improve those areas?

The problem is that the plant can't grow because there is no air in the soil. The soil is saturated with water. And until there is air in the root zone, the plant will continue to decline. Perhaps the best option is to open the ground up with a toolbar or row cultivator as soon as conditions allow. Of course the concern is that you'll damage the good corn getting back to the wet areas. You'll need to weigh the options on how much damage you'll cause by the tillage trip. But the heavy rains that fell on saturated soils have created a somewhat impervious layer that won't allow much passage of air. Until that is broken up, don't expect much in the way of corn growth.

What is the yield potential of those wet areas? Much depends upon how long those areas were saturated with water and how soon the corn plant will respond to more favorable growing conditions. I don't think some of these areas have much in the way of yield potential. Especially those earlier planted fields where the wet areas are less than knee high while the good areas are above your head. These wet areas have just been too wet for too long and the plants don't have much of an opportunity to produce yield. The biggest question is how long will it take for the wet areas to respond. The sooner that happens, the more likely for yield.

We've also noted the first emergence of western corn rootworm beetles. We've seen the populations of these insects decline over the past three years. Hopefully, the wet weather we had thus far (which is detrimental to larvae survival) plus Bt protected corn, will keep these in check. Time will tell. But be watchful for silk clipping by the rootworm beetles as well as Japanese beetles.

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