Scout for Leaf Diseases, Stalk Integrity as Harvest Begins

Scout for Leaf Diseases, Stalk Integrity as Harvest Begins

Before the rains this weekend delaying field work, some farmers in Southwestern Michigan were able to start harvest. One of the problems that impacted corn farmers last year was stalk integrity. According to Karen Zuver, Pioneer agronomist, it is a problem for growers again this year because of issues with other diseases.

“Common leaf diseases that are going to drive some of that stock concern from the fact it can cannibalize the stalk,” she said. “We look at some of the diseases we’re faced with right now, whether that’s grey leaf spot, norther leaf blight or tar spot, we see that’s starting to take away from those stalks.”

With the wet spring, dry summer, and early pollination in the drouthy conditions, Zuver says these conditions are prime for anthracnose to set into the plant.

“You want to go out and pinch stalks to make sure that you have that stalk integrity, and that we’re not going to be faced with some down corn as these different conditions and potentially higher winds that come through Michigan in the next couple of week don’t take that corn down,” said Zuver.

Since the entire year shifted with the late planting, that made plant diseases like northern leaf blight and black tar spot show up later. According to Zuver, just because they show up later doesn’t mean they won’t impact yields.

“The impact of northern leaf blight, it’s the same as tar spot, when it comes in late like this, we’re going to see that deterioration of photosynthetic area that’s going to drive the potential for lower test weights,” said Zuver. “In some cases if it came in heavy enough, we could see it cause kernel abortion.”

Zuver encourages growers to scout their fields, even though they are ready to roll with harvest.

“It’s important we get out there, scout now, check stalks, and see what’s going on,” she said.

As harvest begins, Zuver is urging farmers to do what they can to have a safe harvest season.