Many fields in eastern Iowa and northern Missouri are experiencing premature drying of corn, which sets the stage for stalk rot. To know if your fields suffer from the disease, check by picking several plants from different parts of each field to analyze. You probably have stalk rot if you get these results with the following methods:
1. Push the top of the plant 30 degrees from its upright position and it doesn't snap back.
2. Squeeze the plant near the base and it crushes.
3. Cut off a couple of suspected stalks, and the pith looks discolored and empty inside.
Scout and identify the fields at the greatest risk and then harvest those fields first. Though early moisture caused late planting in many areas, the rest of the season's hot, dry weather has made corn drier than producers may realize, making plants ready for a closer-to-normal harvest time. For questions about stalk rot and scouting, feel free to contact meor a regional sales agronomist in your area.