As my fellow crop consultant, John Wilson, talked about in his newsletter; Mother Nature continues to want to hold on to late Winter/early Spring conditions as we approach the first of May. I really was hoping to report better growing conditions and crops growing on schedule but I cannot say that, at this time.  Cold and wet is the average day so far with an occasional “spring day” with warm temperatures and sunshine.  All things considered the crop looks good in general.
     Now let us talk about the crops we have in the field:
     With the cold wet weather I have seen some disease mainly on the lower half of the plant. The worst areas, for the most part, are where wheat was planted behind dry land corn.  The wheat has excessive tillers and height from the residual nitrogen and other fertilizer elements.  This combined with the cooler wetter weather has created an ideal environment for fungi development.  This is very common in dry pivot corners.  With the very high wind we have seen followed by several days of cold wet weather this has the potential to infect the entire field.  A timely fungicide application should be considered to help insure yield potential. 
     Now, while it is wet, is an excellent time to walk your fields and grade your planter.  You should know the speed you were running, the seed size and the population you where planting.    Do you see skips? Do you see doubles?  If you are on 30 inch rows, take a tape measurer and measure off 17’ 5” which is 1/1000 of an acre.  How many plants do you have? How close is it to what your monitor was recording?  How well did your planter perform with different seed sizes?  Now is the time, to start making plans on how to do a better job, planting your corn, next year.  If you have a meter that seems to have a problem, bring it in to Bryan Mainord and let him put it on the test stand and see if it is the problem or if the problem is somewhere else.  It could be seed tubes, chains, bearings etc. If it isn’t in the meter it could help you avoid a breakdown during soybean planting.
     Opinions vary, most people agree that they like to see around 18-20,000 plants per acre before a farmer considers replanting.  The problem with “spot planting” is that you can very easily get your corn too thick. If you have one row that is averaging 22,000 and the one next to it is averaging 10,000 you have a problem. In situations like this you are better off to work up or kill the existing corn and start over.  It really has much to do with how uniform the stand is; the more uniform the stand, the better the stand is.
 The corn crop is growing slowly due to the cooler than normal weather. Some corn has suffered a little frost damage but so far nothing too severe.  The in-furrow fertilizer pop-up treatments seem to be helping the corn grow better than compared to no pop-up.  Applying pre-emerge herbicides has been a challenge with the high winds, but with all the rain, we have the moisture to activate it.  With warmer weather and sunshine, this smaller corn will take off with the longer days we are having now.

Be safe,
Robert Keller,
Certified Crop Advisor

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