Specialist encourages farmers to scout fields for stalk health

A corn specialist at Purdue University says late-season drought stress has caused stalk quality deterioration in some areas of the Eastern Corn Belt.

Bob Nielsen says it can lead to downed corn and cause more harvest challenges.

“We’ve been encouraging people to walk their fields and prioritize fields and maybe harvest some earlier than they might otherwise do, before they go down,” he says.

He tells Brownfield the warmer temperatures have helped dry down crops for harvest, but it is unclear how it might affect yields.

“The impact on the dryness, well in some places since July, I think that will be interesting to see how much of a toll it really took on the grain yield of that crop,” he says.

Nielsen says farmers also faced some disease pressure this year with southern rust.

“It certainly encouraged a number of people to apply fungicide back in July,” he says.

He says other yield reducing diseases, like gray leaf spot and northern corn leaf blight, weren’t a factor for Hoosier farmers this growing season.

Audio: Bob Nielsen, corn specialist at Purdue University 

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