No matter when your customers were able to get into the field for planting this spring, regular scouting can help set the stage for a successful corn yield come harvest.
Getting into the field on a regular basis after planting will improve the timing on important crop protection decisions. Is there a new flush of weeds that needs to be managed? Will postemergence herbicides need to be applied sooner than anticipated? Are there any nutrient deficiencies? Are there any new insect or disease pressures? All these questions can be answered and addressed with regular scouting.
Scouting should occur multiple times throughout the growing season, but there are times when it’s more critical, says Joe Bolte, market development specialist, Corteva Agriscience.
With lengthy emergence periods, waterhemp and Palmer amaranth present an annual challenge — calling for a herbicide program approach that includes multiple modes of action for effective control. Bolte says these weeds may be even harder to control this year.
“In many areas, growing degree unit calculations ran ahead of schedule compared to normal years, causing earlier germination of pigweeds. Depending on your geography and planting date, waterhemp or Palmer amaranth may need to be controlled in every herbicide pass — not just the postemergence application.”
On the flip side, your customers in areas with heavy rainfall may not have had a chance to get their preemergence herbicides down in time. If this is the case, they may consider reallocating those preemergence herbicide dollars to create a more powerful postemergence pass.
Bolte also says that tar spot should be on everyone’s radar this year, as this disease continues to spread to new fields. Scouting the corn plant’s canopy will help determine if a fungicide application is warranted.
There are several free resources available to help customers with in-field corn scouting. “Many universities will put together scouting guides or calendars for common pests. Use these to determine when weeds, disease and insects are most likely to emerge in your geography,” Bolte says.