Ring Around the Collars

December 31, 2008 06:00 PM

Rhonda Brooks, Farm Journal Technology & Special Projects Editor 

Say V6 and most people think you're talking engines. However, there's an agronomic V6 that indicates how well your corn is up and running.
Knowing how to count corn collars is a valuable skill because it enables you to make accurate decisions on timing postemergence herbicide applications, says associate field agronomist Missy Bauer. Plus, by knowing various corn growth stages you always have a headstart on identifying and addressing any disease or pest problem that typically occurs during those specific stages.
While there are several methods to determine corn growth stages, the leaf collar method is the one used most extensively in the United States.  With this method, you look for leaf collars on the plant. These are light, greenish bands that separate the leaf blades from the leaf sheaths.  Sounds technical, but it's not.  In our brief video at www.agweb.com , Associate Field Agronomist Missy Bauer walks you through the straight-forward process of counting corn collars.
Knowing the growth stages of corn allows growers to properly time field operations to meet windows of opportunity. Proper timing of fertilizer, irrigation, cultivation, harvest, and insect, weed and disease control can significantly improve yields.
Most postemergence corn herbicides can be applied to corn at various growth stages, but almost all product labels indicate a maximum stage beyond which broadcast applications should not be made.

You can e-mail Rhonda Brooks at rbrooks@farmjournal.com.

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