Early-planted corn developing slowly
The longer it takes corn seedlings to reach and successfully transition to dependence on nodal roots, the greater the risk that stand establishment will not occur successfully in terms of achieving a uniformly healthy stand of corn by the time the crop is knee-high. Damage to the kernel or mesocotyl by soil-borne insects (e.g., wireworms) or disease prior to the successful transition to dependence on the nodal root system will stunt or kill seedlings. Repeated damage to above-ground plant tissue by recurring frost events takes its toll on the health of the seedlings prior to the transition period also.
Hopefully growers who chose to plant in late March or early April hedged their bets by also applying a healthy rate of starter fertilizer in a 2x2 placement band. The role of starter fertilizer is to assist young corn plants as they make the transition from kernel reserves to nodal roots during times when root development or function is compromised by less than optimum growing conditions.
The forecast return of warm weather this coming week will certainly be welcomed by these early-planted fields, as will the forecast rainfall in areas of the state that have been unseasonably dry throughout much of late March and April.
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