Fallow Corn Syndrome: Causes and Prevention

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Fallow Corn Syndrome: Causes and Prevention

There has been a lot of talk and several articles over the last few weeks concerning the uneven corn, especially in the areas where crops were not planted last year. What gets me is after talking to an independent agronomist yesterday, no one really seems to know what the cause is. Here are a few of the ideas going around:

  • Some think it was because the soil mycorrhiza didn’t have the proper host last summer due to bare ground. (Even where there were a lot of weeds that were allowed to grow.)
  • Some think  it was because we had such a mild winter—that the freezing and thawing did not get rid of some shallow compaction.
  • Others think it was because some growers cut fertility programs to save on costs this spring.
  • Still others think it was just a function of the cooler, wetter spell after such good planting conditions and early corn planting.

No matter what the cause is, none of us like to see uneven corn in our fields. Some of the tissue tests I have run have shown that the corn (and soil) could have used some extra P & K. Others have shown that both the soil and the corn are very low in sulfur. None had used our Crop Choice® starter program. With our program, your fertility program for next year can be tailored to suit your farm, even field by field, with both a starter recommendation and a soil recommendation. When harvest gets here, it’s a great time to start soil sampling for 2017!

As far as the soil biology is concerned, we have the Nutrient Recycling Program (NRP) to help you increase your  soil mycorrhiza and other beneficial soil bacteria. We are using the Nutrapathic™ Soil Restore and Nutrapathic™ Liquid Bacteria Concentrate, along with Sugar E-Boost® (two of the NRP’s components) when spraying post-emergent herbicides on no-till beans this year where there is a heavy mat of residue. Not only are we hoping to see a faster breakdown in the residue,  we are making sure our soil health is moving in the right direction so as not to have stunted corn.

If you have questions about what has been going on in your field this spring and summer, or want to find out more about any of our programs, you can contact me or browse our website.

Mark your calendar to attend one of our field day sessions Aug. 17 or 18 at the Niota, IL, research farm.  

John Viertel, CCA – Missouri Salesman