FEATURED FIELD NEWS

Early Season Corn Insects 2017

As the 2017 season has unfolded, our corn plants have had to endure; sporadic planting windows, drastic ups and downs in temperature/precipitation, and seedling blights.  Now that the majority of the crop is in the ground, several new threats have emerged.

Armyworm-  Several weeks of cool, wet weather this spring have favored armyworm development and downplayed the activity of predators and parasites that keep them in check.  This insect prefers grain crops and grasses but will move to other crops such as corn when their food source is gone or matures.  Areas to keep an eye on are; fence rows, grass pastures, small grain fields, waterways, and anywhere that a grass cover crop was used.  Larvae will defoliate plants in quick fashion so keep looking.

Black Cutworm- Adult populations of this insect are drawn to vegetation to lay their eggs so areas of most concern would include; weedy and no-till fields, green cover crops, as well as those areas close to permanent vegetation.  The gray larvae can reach up to 2 inches in length and remain the only insect larvae that has ever chewed on a layer of my skin while I carried a large active specimen!  Larvae like to feed at night and can often be found close to the base of plants underground during the day.  The good news is that once corn plants reach approximately the V6 stage little more clipping is done but I have witnessed boring into stalks in dry conditions.

Billbug-  One family of insects that we seldom face in Eastern Iowa are the Maize Billbugs.  These adults will overwinter in plant debris, large grasses, or the soil and start to get active as soon as corn plants begin to emerge.  Adult billbugs will feed at the base of corn plants at night and leave gouge marks from their mouth parts.  Plants may die if growing points are damaged or more commonly tillering and distortion of growing parts are found.  These stunted plants may also have a row of holes across their leaves and if several larvae feed within the stalk, ears will not likely be set.

Corn Rootworm-  With the history of rootworm in our part of the world it’s not a matter of if this pest returns but when.  While digging in a field recently in Washington Co. we happened to find a good sized larvae tunneled into a root in a part of the state that hasn’t seen excessive numbers before.  This does not necessarily mean that rootworm will be a problem this year but I would suggest digging in your fields if you have had hot spots in the past.  Larvae will be pale, slender, and have a brown head as well as a dark plate on their tails.  Root damage is of course what we are concerned with at this stage especially since much of our corn crop has limited root mass, amplifying any feeding setbacks.  

Why are my corn plants falling over?

Recent reports from the field have come in with corn literally falling over throughout the corn field.  One day the plants look healthy and growing and the next day they are falling over.  The surprise and concern over this will cause a grower to ask, “what is happening and why?”

When the plants that have fallen over are dug up, they are missing a very important part of their anatomy, their roots!  The phenomenon that causes corn plants to lose their roots is called Rootless Corn Syndrome or “Floppy Corn.”  There are really two main reasons for rootless corn syndrome to invade a corn field.  The first reason is in response to dry soil conditions and perfect timing with young corn plants that are trying to establish their nodal roots systems.  The syndrome usually starts following some wet periods and/or planting into soil still a little on the damp side in the spring, then soils has dried out down to the crown where nodal roots are initiated near the V3-V4 growth stage. Typically the nodal roots will grow downward in response to gravity as long as soil conditions, including moisture, are hospitable. If these roots elongate into dry surface soils they run the risk of drying out before finding moisture and dying. When the nodal roots die, the young plant must survive on seminal root contributions and anything left in the seed energy reserves until later nodal roots find their way to moisture. Normally, the seedling is fed by seed reserves and the seminal root system until the nodal roots take over around V5 to V6. "Floppy" corn is observed when seedlings without normal nodal root formation are tipped over from lack of support.  In severe cases, plants may lay down completely on the soil surface and the mesocotyl breaks leading to a dead plant.

 The second reason for Rootless Corn Syndrome to be present is caused by shallow planting.  When planting less than 1 – 1 ½” the soil can settle leaving the seed very near the soil surface.  As the seed germinates and begins to grow and tries to send out it’s nodal roots, they are extremely close to the soil surface.  If the soil surface happens to be dry and hot, the new roots will die and the above portion of the corn plant continues to grow as mentioned earlier and the plant falls over due to a lack of rooting strength.

There are no rescue measures for a field experiencing Rootless or Floppy Corn Syndrome, other than rain to rewet and cool the top 2” of soil so the plant can reestablish their nodal roots and straighten itself up.  If the soil conditions continue to be hot and dry for too long, the plant will run out of energy reserves and die.

Why are my corn plants falling over?

Recent reports from the field have come in with corn literally falling over throughout the corn field.  One day the plants look healthy and growing and the next day they are falling over.  The surprise and concern over this will cause a grower to ask, “what is happening and why?”

When the plants that have fallen over are dug up, they are missing a very important part of their anatomy, their roots!  The phenomenon that causes corn plants to lose their roots is called Rootless Corn Syndrome or “Floppy Corn.”  There are really two main reasons for rootless corn syndrome to invade a corn field.  The first reason is in response to dry soil conditions and perfect timing with young corn plants that are trying to establish their nodal roots systems.  The syndrome usually starts following some wet periods and/or planting into soil still a little on the damp side in the spring, then soils has dried out down to the crown where nodal roots are initiated near the V3-V4 growth stage. Typically the nodal roots will grow downward in response to gravity as long as soil conditions, including moisture, are hospitable. If these roots elongate into dry surface soils they run the risk of drying out before finding moisture and dying. When the nodal roots die, the young plant must survive on seminal root contributions and anything left in the seed energy reserves until later nodal roots find their way to moisture. Normally, the seedling is fed by seed reserves and the seminal root system until the nodal roots take over around V5 to V6. "Floppy" corn is observed when seedlings without normal nodal root formation are tipped over from lack of support.  In severe cases, plants may lay down completely on the soil surface and the mesocotyl breaks leading to a dead plant.

 The second reason for Rootless Corn Syndrome to be present is caused by shallow planting.  When planting less than 1 – 1 ½” the soil can settle leaving the seed very near the soil surface.  As the seed germinates and begins to grow and tries to send out it’s nodal roots, they are extremely close to the soil surface.  If the soil surface happens to be dry and hot, the new roots will die and the above portion of the corn plant continues to grow as mentioned earlier and the plant falls over due to a lack of rooting strength.

There are no rescue measures for a field experiencing Rootless or Floppy Corn Syndrome, other than rain to rewet and cool the top 2” of soil so the plant can reestablish their nodal roots and straighten itself up.  If the soil conditions continue to be hot and dry for too long, the plant will run out of energy reserves and die.

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Please be reminded that the use of traited seed may be contingent on the signature of technology agreements. Please check with your seed representative. All products are subject to availability.

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By purchasing seed products of AgriGold, the buyer understands that such products are for planting in the year of the purchase and that AgriGold has the obligation to pay royalties to trait providers for the products containing specific traits based on each grower’s agronomic zone. Buyer agrees to report the agronomic zone of each grower who will plant such traited products (including that of the buyer if he is a grower) to AgriGold. Such agronomic zones are defined and assigned by each of the trait providers at their sole discretion, and may be different from one provider to another.

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Agrisure® Technology incorporated into these seeds is commercialized under license from Syngenta Seeds, Inc. Herculex® Technology incorporated into these seeds is commercialized under license from Dow AgroSciences LLC. Seed products with the LibertyLink® (LL) trait are resistant to the herbicide glufosinate ammonium, an alternative to glyphosate in corn, and combine high-yielding genetics with the powerful, non-selective, post-emergent weed control of Liberty® herbicide for optimum yield and excellent weed control. Callisto®Xtra, Lexar®, Lumax® and Bicep II Magnum® are Restricted Use Pesticides.

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BRAND (“Company”) warrants that the seeds in the container are as described on the tag, subject to tolerances established by law. THE FOREGOING EXPRESS WARRANTY EXCLUDES ALL OTHER WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING THE WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY AND THE WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. THERE ARE NO OTHER WARRANTIES WHICH EXTEND BEYOND THE DESCRIPTION THEREON. The Company does not warrant that conventional seed produced or sold by the Company is free of genetically modified organisms (“GMO”) nor does the Company warrant that genetically modified seed produced or sold by the Company is free of unintentional GMO for any reason, (including but not limited to adventitious pollen contamination due to pollen drift caused by wind and/or insects). Company specifically disclaims any warranty as to complete freedom of GMO for conventional seed produced or sold by the Company and Company specifically disclaims any warranty as to complete freedom of unintentional GMO for genetically modified seed produced or sold by the Company. By acceptance and use of the seed, buyer agrees that the Company’s liability and the buyer’s exclusive remedy for breach of any warranty or other reason (if any) shall be limited, in all events, to a return of the purchase price of the affected seed, and in no event shall the Company be liable for any indirect, special, incidental or consequential damages (including damages for loss of business, loss of profits, or any similar loss) whether based on breach of contract, breach of warranty, tort (including negligence), product liability, or otherwise, even if advised of the possibility of such damages. All claims must be presented within a reasonable period of time and not later than thirty (30) days after discovery. Crop yields and quality are influenced by many causes and conditions beyond the Company’s control that the Company does not warrant yield or quality. Further, any recommendations given for selection or use of the Company’s products are based upon the Company’s best knowledge and for informational purposes only, and the Company does not warrant the results to be obtained with such recommendations. Unless accepted on the foregoing terms, buyer shall return the seed in the original unopened container within 15 days of purchase for a refund of the purchase price.

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Sale of this seed is allowed only in the U.S. and through BRAND’s authorized dealers and distributors. One or more of the parental lines used to produce this seed is proprietary to or licensed to BRAND. BRAND grants to buyer a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable right to use the seed for the sole purpose of growing a single commercial crop for the production of grain or forage for feeding or processing. Buyer agrees that it is not acquiring any rights to use the seed or any parental line(s) that may be unintentionally contained herein for any purpose other than the growing of a single commercial crop for the production of grain or forage for feeding or processing. Buyer shall not reproduce or transfer said seed or parental line(s), nor subject them (nor their pollen or any other plant part) to any breeding, research, development, biotechnology process, or any other genetic manipulation techniques, including (but not limited to) tissue culture, genetic fingerprinting or transformation techniques, sequencing, use of molecular markers or mutagenesis. The parental line(s) may also be protected under trade secret laws. Buyer further agrees that under these trade secret rights, any parental seed and the genetic material contained herein is confidential and must be maintained in confidence. Export of the seed and parental line(s) is prohibited. Further, the buyer shall ensure that any crop or material produced from this seed shall only be exported to, or used, processed or sold in countries where all necessary regulatory approvals have been granted. Unless accepted on the foregoing terms, buyer shall return the seed in the original unopened container within 15 days of purchase for a refund of the purchase price.

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