The last couple of days I have been to several corn fields and have seen lots of corn “flopped” on the ground. The plants looked healthy. Once we dug the plants out it was obivious that the crown roots had not developed enough to hold the plant up. Also some of the plants had a pinched mesocotyl root leading me to believe that some pathogen such as Pythium had infected the root.
Some growers had mentioned rootless or floppy corn syndrome. I have discussed this with several experienced corn growers and sellers and found that it is very rare and most have never seen much of it before, but after more discussion and searching we feel that it is likely a combination of both.
So what causes this? Well… both are actually very understandable considering the sring we have had. Cool wet soils at planting and then for many days after were the perfect conditions for root rot and damping off. Also after the May long weekend big rain, we have had very little rain and the top part of the soil has dried out making it tough for the crown roots to develop. Planting into wet conditions ( which we didn’t have much of a choice this spring) can sometimes cause compaction which can lead to the seed trench or furrow opening up once the soil dries making it difficult for crown roots to establish.
What now? I have sent corn plants to the U of M for to confirm or rule out root disease so we will have to wait for the results. I will let you know soon. Also we need some rain so the next set of nodal roots can develop and get those plants going again. In either case there is not much as growers we can do. Patience is the word of the day, we wait to see how badly our plant stands will be affected.
This is my first attempt at this blogging thing and if all goes well I will continue udating this way. Hopefully the link below works