Integrated Crop Management News

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Corn Rootworm Monitoring Network Summary

September 10, 2020

A monitoring network was established this year to monitor corn rootworm adults in Iowa cornfields, similar to the moth trapping network we manage in the spring each year. The goal was to help farmers and agronomic professionals monitor populations of northern corn rootworm (NCR) and western corn rootworm (WCR) in their fields and assess management decisions. A secondary goal was to estimate the ratio of NCR to WCR throughout the state and describe changing ratios into the future. The sampling protocol used is detailed at the end of the article.

2020 Drought and Derecho Impacted Corn-Harvest, Mycotoxin Testing and Storage

September 9, 2020

The August 10 derecho left portions of Iowa with broken, uprooted, and damaged corn across a significant portion of the state. Paired with drought conditions across the state, especially in west central Iowa, growers should be on the lookout for mycotoxin issues in this years’ crop, especially aflatoxins and fumonisins, as discussed in “Drought and Derecho Increase Mycotoxin Risk in 2020 Iowa Corn Crop-Scouting and Monitoring Fields”. For fields that are intended to be harvested, considerations for harvest, mycotoxin testing, and storage are presented below.

Drought and Derecho Increase Mycotoxin Risk in 2020 Iowa Corn Crop-Scouting and Monitoring Fields

September 9, 2020
Figure 1. The olive green, powdery mold that characterizes Aspergillus ear rot can be seen on this corn ear.  Photo courtesy of Alison Robertson.

The majority of Iowa is currently in moderate to severe drought, with west central Iowa under the most extreme drought. As if drought were not enough, we were dealt another blow with extreme and widespread wind damage on August 10, some of which overlapped the drought area. With these events come an increased risk for ear rots and associated mycotoxins. This article will address ear rots and mycotoxins of particular concern this year, in addition to scouting methods and monitoring considerations while grain is still in the field.

Sampling Downed Corn for Damage

September 9, 2020

The Derecho storm on August 10 left fields with varying degrees of downed corn. In the weeks following the storm, the condition of the corn plants has worsened and the quality of the corn grain appears to be deteriorating. This deterioration in quality is expected to increase with time. 

Water Quality Impacts of Cover Crop Following a Drought

September 3, 2020
Annual nitrate-N concentration in the corn year at the Gilmore City Drainage Research Facility

The dry conditions throughout large areas of Iowa during 2020 reminds us of Iowa’s last significant drought in 2012 and the subsequent impacts on nitrate-N levels in subsurface drainage the following spring. This article will address concerns for water quality in drought conditions and opportunities to reduce nutrient losses from fields this fall.

Cover Crop Options to Consider for Damaged Crops this Fall

August 27, 2020

Many fields have been ravaged by adverse weather this year in Iowa. On top of drought and hail we had a devastating derecho steam-roll a wide swath of Iowa starting in Sac County and progressing eastward along Highway 30. Along with the decision of how to handle this year’s crop, consideration for protecting the soil and preparing for next year’s crop should include cover crops.

Harvest and Storage of Weather-damaged Corn for Silage

August 18, 2020

Extreme weather events may lead to a decision to make corn silage rather than harvest corn for grain, or to harvest acres that will exceed current silage storage capacity. Before harvesting for silage, make sure you have a market for the silage or a sufficient number of livestock to feed it to. It may be difficult to harvest good quality corn silage if the crop has weather damage and the economic value of the silage will likely be lower than silage from non-damaged fields.

Silage Harvest of Drought-Stressed and Severely Lodged Corn

August 18, 2020
table 1

The decision to chop corn for silage should be made when there is no further potential to increase grain dry matter and whole plant moisture is in the proper range for the storage structure. The proper harvest moisture content is the same for drought stressed and normal corn. Recommended whole plant moisture contents are 65-70% in horizontal silos (trenches and bunkers), 60-70% for bags, 60-65% for upright stave silos, and 50-60% for upright oxygen limiting silos.

Wind Damaged Corn – Nutrient Content?

August 17, 2020
table 1

The August 10, 2020 high winds (derecho) caused lodged or flattened corn in many Iowa fields. The corn development ranged mainly from stages R3 (milk) to R5 (dent). Some fields may not be harvested, some chopped for silage, and some harvested for grain. Nutrients such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) remaining in the field may be different than with normal harvest due to partial plant removal, grain harvest, or grazing. Therefore, adjustments can be made for future fertilizer or manure applications.

Expectations for Lodged Corn

August 17, 2020

Derecho. Another of those words we wished we hadn’t heard in 2020 but are quite certain we won’t forget about the results from its occurrence. Millions of corn acres were damaged, and there are many questions about the lasting impact.

In cornfields, what did it leave behind? The damage varies considerably, but for this article, let’s break injury into three categories: