Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Stalk Strength Reminder

Paul Vincelli, Plant Pathology

Corn fields in the many areas that experienced wet, overcast, soggy weather since the last issue of Kentucky Pest News for the most part remain unharvested. Weather conditions generally, and the widespread occurrence of southern corn rust, conspire to make this a season with increased risk for stalk rots.

Be sure to scout fields for stalk strength. Scouting will help you select fields for harvest based on how strong the stalks are. Harvest those with the weakest stalks first, before they blow down from a strong gust.

The easiest way to check for lodging potential is to walk through the field and, at about chest height, push the plants about 8-12 inches from vertical. A stalk that bends and fails to spring back is prone to lodging. If 10-15% of the stalks in a field exhibit lodging potential, the field should be scheduled for early harvest.

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