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3 Corn Concerns for 2017

Corn rootworm, hybrid maturities, and Goss’s wilt are factors to consider this year.

Getting anxious about planting season? It will soon be here. Here are factors to keep in mind for 2017.

Watch for Corn Rootworm
Tight economics have prompted farmers to trim seed costs by foregoing traits, such as those that resist corn rootworm.

“As an industry, we have been so focused on price,” says Jeff Hartz, director of marketing for Wyffels Hybrids. “But that might be setting us up for more risk.”

Although there have been isolated incidents of corn rootworm infestations, this pest has largely been absent in recent years. “One thing that mitigates this is that there are more rotated corn acres with soybeans,” says Hartz.

Still, this pest has a track record of bouncing back when it’s least expected. Keep your guard up via scouting fields this summer, says Hartz.

Watch Corn Maturities
“In our research, we’ve seen more disparity between labeled and actual maturities,” says Hartz. “We’ve seen hybrids labeled as 112-day, for instance, but they act much more like a 114-day maturity hybrid. This creates a yield advantage when compared to a true 112-day hybrid.”

What to do?  

“Farmers just need to be careful,” Hartz says. “A grower may be attempting to strategically spread risk by planting different maturities. In reality, they could be planting all similar maturities.”

Watch for Goss’s Wilt

Wet weather has fueled corn fungal corn diseases in recent years. Fortunately, fungicides are available as a tool to manage them.

Not so with Goss’s wilt. Fungicides don’t work on this bacterial disease. “There has not been a tremendous amount of Goss’s wilt the last few years, but you know the potential is there,” says Hartz.

The best way to curb this disease? Plant hybrids that tolerate Goss’s wilt, Hartz says.

“We have been a lot more intensive about identifying genetics that can tolerate and stand up to Goss’s wilt,” Hartz says.

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