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Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Growing Corn

I got better than average yield on corn, but it died early and went down moderately.  It was a nuisance to combine and I'm sure I left yield on the ground.  Makes me wish I had cows to run on the stalk ground.


After scouting for disease around pllination, I decide the corn was pretty healthy and skipped fungicide.  Was that a mistake this year?  What was your observation on fungicide on corn?  Any comparisons with your fields or neighbors on whether it paid?


From what I can tell my fertilization levels were pretty good.


My planting didn't get done until early May.  I haven't heard how the earlier corn did, does anyone know?


Some varieties seemed to go down worse than others, but that is the case every year.


Farming entirely alone, I like to finish beans and then switch to corn.  I'm beginning to think I should move to corn beans corn and spread my maturity out.  What are you guys doing?  Whould that have gotten some corn that went down, do you think?

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3 Replies
Senior Advisor

Re: Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Growing Corn

Jim - as far as fungicides - Man what a call that can be - Not dropping names here or what ever - but I have worked with Purdue and Kiersten Wise on fungicides plots - Most times - IF there is no disease at or above the ear leaf - then you " should " be OK - this year - I checked it a couple of times a week - I just about pulled the trigger - it was close - to me - I made a call to Kiersten to get her advice and make sure Ken was on the right page - short - I did not spray and it was ok at harvest - you can ask Isac76 on this field - He made the trip down here for the field day and Kiersten talked about it in depth that day and what I had did or not did . It boils down to the hybrid you plant - mainly - check the disease rating really , really close !!! The hybrid I planted was tops on most diseases we have around here - I have to ask you what made your corn go down ? Northern ? Gray leaf ? stalk rot ? was you short on N and the plant cannibalized it's self = weak stalks -  You can't fix  a problem if you don't know what caused it - right ?  


You asked about observations of fungicides - In the plot work we did in 2013 - there was no difference in yields - period - first of we were testing Fortex fungicide - it was applied at V7 - there claim to fame is apply after V-5 for season long protection - the hybrid I planted had a great disease package - so why spray it in this test ??? We did it to check if it helped in plant health and if it would raise yields because of plant health - which it did not - 

You also asked if that was a mistake this year - I have seen perfect corn at tassel get disease very late in the season = becasue of weather conditions - sometimes Jim - there is only so much we can do - my advise is to scout , scout , scout - just don'e quit after tassel .


I will see if I can find some info that just came out on timing and fundicides and post it up here - maybe that will help some .


glad you had good yields this year !



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Senior Advisor

Re: Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Growing Corn

Jim this ones on timing - I will look far some more if it fits .


Kiersten Wise is concerned some may have left valuable bushels on the table this year because they waited too late to make fungicide applications on corn. She has the results of a one-year test, and is repeating the test to verify what she believes could be an important way to pick up extra dollars next season.

Related: Spraying Foliar Fungicide Can Aid Corn Health

In recent years several agronomists and consultants have talked about making fungicide applications at brown silk. Wise says that may be too late to capture the most economic benefit from the application.

Apply earlier: Kiersten Wise believes that fungicides, when needed for corn, should be applied around tasseling, or at what is called complete pollination, rather than waiting for silks to turn brown.
Apply earlier: Kiersten Wise believes that fungicides, when needed for corn, should be applied around tasseling, or at what is called complete pollination, rather than waiting for silks to turn brown.

It's also possible to be pressured by a dealer or applicator to apply too early. Not all fungicide applications can be made at once since several are made through aerial application.

"Our results indicate that you increase yield the most if you apply earlier than brown silk," says Wise, Purdue University Extension disease specialist. The difference can be the difference between profit and loss.

She is urging farmers to shoot for applying fungicides when you have decided they are needed by the time what Bob Nielsen calls "complete pollination" is reached. The Purdue corn specialist defines that as when you pull back husks and most silks fall off, indicating pollination has occurred. Silks are not yet turning brown at that point.

Some of the recommendations to wait until brown silk grew out of Nielsen's 2007 discovery of arrested ear development that was linked to fungicide applications. However, it turns out that the arrested development was likely tied to adding a surfactant with the fungicide application. Check fungicide labels to see what can and can't be applied with the fungicide.

Related: Companies still say fungicides will pay their way for corn

Nielsen notes that brown silk does not occur until about nine days after pollination in most cases. Wise says that is simply too late to receive the most benefit of a fungicide application when a fungicide is needed. She is making a concerted effort to get farmers to move the application time up next season.

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BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Growing Corn

You might want to check if your potassium is +2% of your base saturation percent.  Potassium is what builds the stalk strength and also copper.  If your pH is above 6.5, it may be tying up potassium.  Also the higher your cation exchange capacity that your soil is, the higher requirement your K needs are.   That is why Francis Childs could get record yields planting Pioneer numbers that tipped over for everyone else, he had a high fertility rate.

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