Thursday, May 10, 2012

Scouting Corn

All of the corn that has been planted so far this year needs to be scouted now. I wonder how many acres or what percentage actually get scouted by the farmer, the tractor driver, the ag supply company or the hired scout or consultant?

As usual, everything you did or didn't do shows in the fields right now. My carefully selected seed lots with the best treatment I could buy planted properly looks pretty good for what it's been through. I give the 24 row Kinze A marks on spacing and C plus on amount of soil above the seed. I might be low on the latter grade.

Planting date is critical. The best stands I have seen are the 3 good days in March and a couple in April, one near the first and one around the 18th. The week of the 23rd is not as good but still coming. It seems to have the most uneven emergence so far.

Beyond the stand and emergence, the most troubling thing I have found is the amount of flea beetle damage. All planting dates are affected somewhat but the week of April 16th seems to have the most damage. Flea beetles chew up baby corn and infect it with Stewart's Wilt. Most hybrids have some resistance to Stewart's but that plant is also opened up to Goss's Wilt and other bacterial diseases this summer.

Six ounces of a pyrethroid insecticide like Permethrin insecticide broadcast or a few ounces in the popup fertilizer will usually control flea beetles. This was not the year to not pay attention to this small detail but most serious corn growers take care of their potential insect problems through seed applied insecticide and in furrow applications of various chemicals.

Weed control seems to be pretty good but that varies across the country, also. Most fields have had enough time and moisture to allow enough weed growth that a second application will be required as a post emergent application by or before vegetative stage 6 or V6. The nozzles need to be dropped by using "drop nozzles" by that stage to get the product on the target and not on the corn leaves.

That is about it for today. Take time to scout your acres!

Ed Winkle

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