July Scouting: Dry Conditions, Insect and Nutrient Concerns

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It seems like there is always something to scout in corn and soybeans, no matter what time of the year you hit the fields.

“The weather conditions we’re receiving though are phenomenal for growth for the most part if you have the water and a root system that can access it,” says Farm Journal field agronomist Ken Ferrie. “Day after day of sunshine, low humidity, mid-80s to low-90s—big GDU days, give us some great ET rates.”

Depending on where you live, you might be battling dry conditions that lead to stalk integrity issues, or you could have enough rain that disease is of concern. Here are a few tips from Ferrie on what he’s scouting across his large territory now.

  • Brittle corn: in areas where the corn is growing fast, watch out for green snap.
  • Tillering: where there is smaller corn that hasn’t closed the rows yet, look for tillering because the sunlight is reaching down into the lower leaves.
  • Dry soils: in smaller corn or compacted fields, persistent dry conditions will become an issue because the plants don’t have depth of root to reach that deeper water supply.
  • Cottony pits: in drier areas, the plant is going into nutrient reserves in the stalks quicker than it normally does, which is fine now, but could create standability issues later.
  • Potassium/boron deficiencies: these nutrients are depended on water getting into the plant, so dry conditions can create deficiencies quickly.
  • Disease: areas that have received moisture need to scout for leaf disease now and stay on top of it.
  • Insects: scout, especially in non-GMO fields, there have been higher armyworm numbers and he observed some corn borer moths around June 12.
  • Spider mites: stop mowing road ditches and waterways, and spray field boarders to push the spider mite threat back three weeks.

“If you have wheat acres and you’re planning on double cropping, check with your seed supplier about growing seed beans on these acres,” Ferrie says. “There’s a big demand to cover next year’s shortfall if Xtend beans are cut from the market. Seed companies are looking for double crop or prevent plant acres they can put non-Xtend beans into.”

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