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Should I Chop Flooded Corn Stalks?

Aug 13, 2010

 

Question
We have several acres flooded by river water that’s been over the ears for four days. Over the past week I have noticed that the ears are starting to rot from both ends. The corn is at the half-milk line, and I think that I should chop stalks and all before they rot any further. I am concerned with the nitrate levels in the stalks as well. What would you advise?
 
Answer
Corn that is subject to flooding should not accumulate high levels of nitrates. High levels of nitrates in the stalk are usually a problem in drought-stressed corn. In the absence of proper ear development, typical of extended dry periods, the nitrates accumulate in the lower stalk. Since the nitrates will be a higher concentration in the lower part of the stalk, you can chop the stalks a little higher than normal if you’re concerned. It’s recommended that under high nitrate levels you leave at least a 12-inch stalk at harvest. In my opinion, a bigger concern is ear molds. Some ear molds can produce mycotoxins. Be sure to test your silage for mycotoxin levels before feeding.
 
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