circles of dead corn

Asked March 4, 2014, 11:56 AM EST

What causes circles of dead, lodged corn in the field, before ears form and how do you prevent/stop it?

Shiawassee County Michigan

1 Response

Many things cause corn to lodge. You need to be a detective and investigate the possibilities.

1) corn rootworms- we are seeing damage (lodging) from rootworm feeding even with Bt corns. Did the field have a lot of adult root worms at silking time(indication it had heavy root feeding earlier) Are the stalks goose necked. Were any roots examined for feeding. If yes....rotate crops.....Change Bt type....use rootworm insecticide...are possible options to explore. Damage is not necessarily in circles from root worms.

2) 2,4-D Damage. Goose necked corn...some odd growth...2,4-D used as a post spray. Again not necessarily in circles. If yes...do not use 2,4-D or understand the issues of 2,4-D type, temperature and stage of growth concerns.

3) Wildlife. Deer can use an area to camp out at and knock down corn in that spot. Turkeys, bears, raccoon and other varmints can knock area of corn down also. Look for tracks, dropping, feeding etc. If yes then maybe encourage in season hunting, get special deer damage permits during the early growing season, investigate repellents, get a farm dog......

4) Soil heath issues can cause plants to be stunted and be abnormal. If yes soil test and determine if it is a nutrient issue, disease, poor organic matter, compaction etc. If yes correct problem

5) Wet soils and strong winds...We saw a lot of damage last year.
6) Small whirlwinds...usually later in the hot summer and usually not a problem.

7) Could be something else...difficult to guess without all of the facts about the site. Call the field crops educator for your county and work others to help figure it out. If occurs again get extension and/or agribusiness to your field to see the actual damage in season.

Call me if you want to talk about this more. (989) 875 5233 office Dan