Source: Doug Jardine, Extension Plant Pathologist and Kraig Roozeboom, Cropping Systems and Crop Production Specialist, K-State University
Stalk lodging in corn occurs when the stalk weakens and breaks at some point below the ear. When this occurs, it results in harvest losses and slows down harvesting considerably. Grain moisture levels may also be unacceptably high in lodged corn.
When looking for the causes of stalk lodging, many first look at either stalk rot diseases or corn borer damage. In fact, we often find stalk rot disease organisms (charcoal rot, Fusarium, Gibberella, anthracnose, and others) in corn with stalk lodging; and stalk rot is often the ultimate cause of lodging. In most cases, however, the stalk rot diseases were only able to infect the plants because certain other factors predisposed the plants to disease infection. We must look deeper for the primary causes.