Stress Increases Pressure from Pests and Pathogens

NickB-July2-2Scouting was going to be critical throughout the growing season, even if we hadn’t received record-setting rains or devastating natural events including tornadoes and flooding. That’s because seed corn planted into wet soils is prone to problems throughout the growing season such as: stunted plant growth; slow infiltration of water and/or ponding; high surface runoff; poor root system development, or rootless corn; and even nutrient deficiency.

Recent rain events “add insult to injury” because plants that are stressed are more susceptible to additional injury from pests and pathogens. Lengthy periods of wet soils increase the likelihood of blight and disease like Crazy Top and Goss’ Wilt.

Warm, moist soils also are great breeding grounds for weeds. Crops have a better chance of reaching optimal yield when they’re not competing with weeds for sunlight, water and nutrients. The best management practice for achieving weed control is still a diversity of tactics: cultural, mechanical and herbicide. Research shows that weeds represent the most important and economic damaging pest that Iowa corn and soybean farmers face every year!