Corn – The 1st 30 Days

Corn, like many crops, has specific needs that must be met in the first 30 days to maximize production.  To maximize your crops potential, here are some tips to keep in mind to improve or change for next year and to help you understand what may be going on in your field now.

  1. Assess your current stand - Check your corn crop for doubles, skips, and depth and make note so you can make any adjustments for your planter for next year.
  2. Do a population count - Many factors, besides your planter, can affect your final emergence count, such as insects, cold soils, wet soils and dry soils.  To do a stand count, refer to a chart for how many feet of row to measure for 1/1000th of an acre.  In general, most corn in planted in 30 inch rows; therefore, you would need to measure the number of plants in 17.5 linear feet of row.  Then, multiply the number of plants emerged by 1000 for your stand count.  Ideally, you should be within 5% of your target population.  Be sure to note what percent of your crop is late emerging.  Plants that are more than 3 days later than their neighbors will likely not reach their full potential.
  3. Weed Control - Corn is very sensitive to early weed competition.  A pre-emergent herbicide application is needed to keep weeds at bay while the corn plants get off to a solid early growth start.  Then, fields need to be monitored for an additional post-emergent weed control application as the plants approach knee-high height.  Consult with the Augusta Cooperative Agronomy department for a comprehensive program for your corn crop.
  4. Frost Damage - With the wide range of topography and micro-climates in the western and central sections of Virginia, a late frost is always a concern for corn producers.  Corn can withstand some early frost (before 6 leaves) as the growing point of the corn plant during this stage is still below ground.  Corn that is subject to a frost event before the V3 growth stage (about 12 inches tall) can still pull energy reserves from the seed to help its recovery.  If your crop has experienced a frost event, wait 3-5 days to allow for regrowth or decay to become visible.  Regrowth appears as lime green tissue close to the soil surface.  To check the growing point for damage, split the seedling in half lengthwise.  If the growing point is turning a brownish color, chances are the seedling is going to die.  The corn seedling's growing point is located 3/4 of an inch below ground until corn reaches the V5-V6 growth stage at which point it starts to move above ground.  Even though the leaves will have sustained significant damage, the crop can still recover and achieve normal productivity.

If you suffer frost damage and are concerned about your corn crop, contact the Augusta Cooperative Agronomy Department or your field representative

− some information for this article provided by DuPont Pioneer

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