A patch of corn was flattened and twisted at the end of the field in a plot field. It represented multiple varieties. Mark Lawson, a Syngenta agronomist, said that the plot, on his own farm, didn't stand up well to recent rains and winds. The problem in this case is not rootworm feeding to weaken roots or stalk lodging due to stalk roots. It's root lodging from a different cause.
"Many plants just didn't establish good roots," he says. "It was so dry early that they just didn't form a good root system."
With sub-par root systems plants in several fields are leaning. It may not take as much of a storm as normal to finish the job and knock them over.
That may mean that you may be marking those fields for harvest earlier than you would like. One theory is to let the corn dry down in the field since it is early and the weather is good to lower drying bills. However, one farmer recently told us that once moisture drops below 30%, he is going to harvest. He fears the kind of situation that Lawson was seeing in his plots.
This farmer isn't looking for more than 60 to 80 bushels per acre on his first several hundred acres that were planted first last spring. But he wants to salvage what he has by getting the crop out of the field before it has a chance to fall over and become a tangled mess.
Lawson says that if farmers aren't careful it could be a year for corn reels and devices that aid getting corn into the head. Those are usually thought of for later in the season if corn has to stand longer than it should due to weather delays.
Don't expect this crop to stand, even without weather delays, he says.