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More on delayed corn planting

By David G. Hallauer
Meadowlark District Extension Agent, crops and soils/horticulture


A quote from my mid-April news column about delayed corn planting: "Hold off on worrying until mid-May." It was a curse to even offer advice like that.

Here we are in mid-May with a good portion of corn in some areas yet to plant. That said, what are some possible implications? Will we run out of growing season? Not likely, here. Maybe in north central Kansas.

Should I substitute a shorter season hybrid? Since we likely won't run out of growing season--no.

Later-planted corn is more susceptible to second generation corn borer so Bt corn is important. Don't forget to adjust refuge acres as necessary.

Weather is always a factor, but later planting means we have less chance of hitting that 'window' of good temperatures at pollination and adequate soil moisture during grain fill. Both 2007 and 2008 proved that, less than a guarantee. Don't try to predict the weather.

And the good news: While long-term analysis indicates yield declines with later planting in south central Kansas, there is less of a trend of this here in northeast Kansas.

Fusarium head blight

If you're a wheat grower, 2008's head scab (fusarium head blight) mess is still fresh in your mind. Unfortunately, 2009 is shaping up as a potentially challenging year, as well.

For more information on FHB, including some information for an analysis of your susceptibility, check out the latest Crop Connections available at www.meadowlark.ksu.edu under the Crops and Soils heading.

Evergreen decline

Decline of our evergreen trees, has been a real problem this spring. And while there are many potential answers, it's likely that one or more actually describes your situation.

Moisture may be the biggest contributor to cedar tree problems--both too much and not enough. Since cedar trees continue respiration throughout the year, the water supply to roots needs constant replenishment. And while spring moisture has been ample, we went for a stretch this winter without much moisture at all. Some trees likely gave up this spring and have died.

On the flip side, a wet 2008 and now 2009 likely has resulted in some root damage purely from too much water. Cedars don't like wet feet, and periods of moisture or moisture conditions that result in wet feet for more than 24 hours or so, can be a real problem.

From the pine standpoint, Dothistroma needle blight has been rampant on Austrian pines. Some stands have shown severe damage. Fortunately, Dothistroma is treatable with fungicides.

The pine disease that cannot be treated is pine wilt and, it, too, has been weighing on stands this year. Primarily on Scots pines, pine wilt seems to also be showing up a lot more in Austrian pine stands. Once a tree is infected, removal is your best option--do so, soon.

For Dothistroma treatment options, request a copy of L-722, Pine Diseases In Kansas: Tip Blight, Dothistroma Needle Blight, and Pine Wilt. For other brown evergreens, since they aren't coming back, it's time to begin a replacement plan.

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