Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Corn Leaf Striping: Weather Most Likely the Problem Here

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

Corn with striped leaves
in shaded light.
As discussed in an earlier post, we are seeing a lot of striping on corn leaves this season. Some striping is due to the weather and some due to compaction or a lack of nutrients. Here is a case where the corn has striped leaves and weather is the most likely culprit.

We normally associate this kind of striping with magnesium, sulfur and/or zinc deficiency. The farmer sent in tissue samples and soil samples. The tissue samples indicated adequate concentrations of nutrients. The soil samples indicated moderate to high levels of nutrients and the farmer applied the recommended fertilizer to the field. These soil tests were submitted to a private laboratory and the nutrient recommendations typically are higher than university guidelines. So, if the farmer followed the private soil test, then nutrients were applied at rates more than adequate. Yet, the striping is evident on these plants. The yellow and green patterns in the field could indicate some variability in the spread pattern of the fertilizer buggy. Based on the soil test and fertilizer amounts applied, this variability should not be yield-limiting. With no evidence of compaction, these corn plants simply need sunlight and water. With rains that came across this field yesterday and this morning, I expect this field to look very green and healthy in one week.

Thanks to David Davis, County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources, for these images.

Corn with striped leaves
in full sunlight.
Corn with different shades of green and yellow in the field.

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