SW MN IPM Stuff 2016 Issue 5b

Volume 19, Issue 5 - May 18, 2016

This newsletter is available in a print-friendly pdf format: SW MN IPM Stuff 2016-05b

This newsletter and the advice herein are free. You usually get what you pay for.

Unrelated to frost or herbicide - patchy corn stands

I’ve had conversations about uneven corn stands with several agriculturalists, particularly north and west of Lamberton.

In addition to some below ground leafing out issues, some stands have significant gaps. There is always some percentage of seed with poor germ in a bag. With today's precision planting equipment, narrowing your search the exact spot where a seed should be is pretty easy. When dug and examined, the malfunctioning corn propagules were hard, not soft, and at the most, had developed only a tiny radicle.

Assuming things have not changed much since taking plant physiology courses in the 70's, germination of a seed is a complex process involving water uptake, enzyme activation, cell repair, and cell division.  

Earlier this spring, I mentioned some areas were having issue with seed in dry soil. What may have happened is: just enough moisture was obtained to start the germination process but not complete it. Subsequent rainfall was too late to salvage the process. There are other possible explanations but this is the simplest.

A good crop is part luck but mostly about understanding the basics. Water, light, temperature, some nutrients, and time are pretty basic to a corn plant.

Alfalfa weevils

Eggs began hatching this week in SW MN alfalfa. There are still some egg-laying adults present. The progression of the hatch will follow degree-day accumulations north and east.

Happy trails,

Bruce Potter