We have started the year with about everything you can imagine in our corn fields this year. Cool and wet was the story early on. It hampered many growers into planting a little later than they had anticipated. I have seen nematodes get the jump on corn this year while the corn was just sitting there in the cool weather. Normally corn can out run the nematodes, but not this year. I also saw root disease on corn because once the corn was several weeks old and had many rain events on it, the seed treatments played out, allowing diseases to jump in and attack the roots as well. Finally, I saw some herbicide damage as well and some fields had combinations of all the above.
So why should we be surprised now when we have leaf diseases coming in some fields particularly, in fields that are corn behind corn. Last week I got a report from Scott Monfort that he saw Northern Corn Leaf Blight on corn in a field. I witnessed some Northern just yesterday, it was low on the corn plant, below the ear leaf. The bad news is this corn was just starting to tassel, so it was earlier than we would like to see it. I have also heard rumors of corn being sprayed for rust, not sure which one Common or Southern, but that is rumor at this time. I do know that there hasn’t been any mention of Southern Rust, the one we really need to be worried about, to the South of us, but we need to keep our ears and eyes open.
There has also been concern of our short corn this year. The internode length is short because of the cool weather. We just haven’t accumulated the heat units like we did last year. If you remember, our corn last year was really tall and I even heard of a couple of pivots being turned over because of the tall corn last year. The good news is that we shouldn’t worry about this affecting yield. The corn in the Midwest is always shorter than what we grow in the South, but they don’t have a problem topping 200 bushel yields and we won’t either this year if we can have good weather for pollination and ear-fill like we did last year.