Hello from the Eastern Region! Planting seems to be winding down with many growers finishing up soybeans by the end of the week. It truly is astonishing at how fast our crop can go in if given 10 days of favorable planting conditions. Corn emergence and overall field stands look good considering the temperature roller coaster that we were exposed to in late April. A few fields had reduced emergence from temperature imbibition chilling but nothing really out of the ordinary. Black cutworm larva activity seems to remain low for the most part with only a few fields requiring treatment but fields still need to be monitored for the next couple weeks. White grub activity seems to be increasing a little each year. No rescue treatments provide reliable control for this pest so the best advice is to remember any problem fields for the future as a preventative insecticide at or before planting may be justified.
Black Cutworm Tunneling into Base of Stalk
White grubs feeding on corn roots below ground
Some reports of purple corn have been reported in Missouri. What causes this? Purpling of corn is evidence of a couple of things. For one, some corn germplasm just tends to exhibit more purple color as seedlings than others. But for those fields with significant visual purpling it is usually due more to environmental stresses like wet soils, compaction, cool temps, and others. The plants produce a larger amount of anthocyanin pigment under these conditions causing purpling. Restricted seedling root growth can also hinder the plant from phosphorus uptake as well. Typically most of these plants will recover with minimum yield loss once good growing conditions set in unless the symptoms are very severe.
The last of the Hoegemeyer research replicated corn and soybean plots went in the ground May 14th compared to June 6th last year. What a difference in planting seasons! It is worth noting that growers should be aware that we are well ahead in terms of heat unit accumulation this year. Many insect species are showing up ahead of normal time frames. This may alter when and if they migrate into crops as food sources. In general, a younger crop is more susceptible to insect injury than a more mature crop.
Now is the time to check fields for emergence and stand counts. Don’t assume that field off the beaten path is fine. Crusting of soil can form quickly with high temps and windy conditions, especially if the field was slightly damp at planting. It is only the middle of May so we are still in a window where any replant will be able to at least approach 90% of optimum yield potential, but the clock is ticking and each day now we lose significant bushel potential. Sunlight drives yield in our crops and delayed plantings will not be able to utilize full photosynthesis potential, especially as you move north where the growing season limits us.
DID YOU KNOW??? The state of Alaska is famous for being able to grow tremendous vegetables. Cabbages get as big as beach balls with a record of 100 lbs. How is this so? The trio of fertile soil, cool to moderate temperatures, and SUNLIGHT! At one point during the growing season Alaska has close to 24 hours of daylight. This makes for one incredible photosynthetic factory!