Drought conditions spark corn lodging concerns

An extension corn agronomist is concerned drought stress could result in weakened stalks.

Jeff Coulter with the University of Minnesota says it’s sure to be an issue if conditions get progressively dryer.

“Especially for corn on corn and fields that were stressed early in the season.”

He tells Brownfield farmers should evaluate stalk strength in the weeks leading up to harvest.

“One thing (you) can always do is go out there and cut stalks and look at the pith of the stalk, and sometimes you’ll find that the center of the stalk is hollow but it has a rind around it. And if the center of the stalk is hollow, that’s a good indication that it doesn’t have a lot of strength.”

Corn lodging, which occurs when the stalk weakens and breaks at some point below the ear, is usually caused by adverse weather conditions but can also be influenced by hybrid selection. 

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