Foliar and stalk diseases could lead to weakened, and failed corn stalks. Because down corn is much harder to harvest, make sure you’re scouting now to plan your harvest schedule.
“The common disease this year has been gray leaf spot,” says Brent Tharp, Wyffels agronomy and product training manager. “If you get these gray leaf spot lesions in the upper part of the canopy during grain fill it takes away the photosynthetic capability.”
When that happens, the plant starts to cannibalize itself within the stalk—starting at the base of the plant.
“It’s probably a little early at this stage to test, but let’s start in one or two weeks,” Tharp says. “Go out in the field and go down here about six inches [off the ground] and just pinch or push it. If it’s weak it’ll break.”
If a large number of stalks are pushing over easily be sure to harvest that field early. This helps keep ears off the ground, saving yield. As a rule of thumb, start scouting and performing this test around black layer.