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What could cause crooked growing corn?

Mar 07, 2014

Question: What could be the problem when corn grows crooked in several fields different locations?   This corn was irrigated with circles and rill irrigation. 

Answer: It’s hard to define what you are talking about by crooked, but I’ll assume it means the corn’s got a crook in it at the crown so like it was growing one direction and then turned and straightened itself out.  There are two things I have seen that cause crooking at the crown. One is severe rootworm pruning, where the plant lodges or wants to lodge, and this is early in the season. The corn tips over one way or the other and then it stands itself back up.  If it’s a rootworm problem it’ll go multiple directions so that the corn is crooked. You can identify this by looking at the crown roots and brace roots for rootworm damage. The other issue that can cause crooked corn is when soil becomes saturated, you get a high wind, and the corn is pushed over so that it leans over one direction and then it fixes itself and straightens back up and has a crooked look to it.  If all the plants have the same crook in it and is leaning the same way, it’s probably a function of high winds and the result of overly saturated soils or too loose of soil. You can’t do anything about a high-wind situation, but if it’s rootworm pruning you need to change your insecticide program and consider changing up your traits.  Attend to this very quickly if it’s a rootworm problem.  If it’s just a fact that high winds caused the corn to lodge there’s not much you can do. You can’t fix this really unless you go to no till or reduced tillage, if it’s a wind issue. 


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