Late Corn Better Than Blighted Corn

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Source: Ohio State University

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Growers whose corn crops were harmed by excessive rain in April and May likely will have enough growing days left in the season if they replant in the next two to three weeks, according to an Ohio State University agronomist.

“If they replanted soon, it would probably be much better than to have a poor stand,” said Peter Thomison, an agronomist with Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Growers can’t be certain that the plants that survived will be consistently healthy or remain viable if seedling blight is a major cause of stand loss, Thomison said. Seedling blight is a fungal infection that can cause a seedling to rot and die.

One consideration growers should focus on is the forecasted rain. Rain is expected for May 20 through May 21, reaching up to two inches in some parts of the state, said Aaron Wilson, an Extension climate specialist. During the week of May 22, rain is also expected, combined with lower than normal temperatures with the lows in the upper 40s to low 50s and the highs in the mid 60s.

Across the state, numerous growers have reported having poor stands, Thomison said. Some cite abnormal growth in their young corn plants, including plants that have developed leaves underground. The deluge of rain in late April and early May across much of the state corresponded with the typical ideal time to plant corn. After the soil dried, it crusted over in some fields, making it difficult for emerging corn plants to penetrate the surface of the soil and causing leaves to form underneath the ground.

In Darke County, which borders Indiana in the west-central region of Ohio, a lot of farmers are awaiting word from their crop insurance adjusters before they replant, said Sam Custer, an OSU Extension educator.

The west-central region of the state was the hardest hit by rain.

A significant number of Darke County’s corn acres will need to be replanted, particularly in the northern part of the county, which has more clay in the soil and is less able to contend with an onslaught of rain, Custer said.

“There’s some corn out there that still has a chance,” he said. “The farmers will just have to determine if it’s feasible to replant.”

Key considerations in making replant decisions should be determining your damaged fields’ current yield potential, its replant yield potential, and the income the crop will generate if it’s replanted, Thomison said.

“Don’t make a final assessment on the extent of damage and stand loss too quickly,” he warned.

For more of Thomison’s guidelines on replanting, visit: go.osu.edu/replantingcorn

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