ISSUE 4 May 25, 2000
UNEVEN STANDS NOT AN INDICATION OF CROP HEALTH OR YIELD, YET
Difference in soil moisture, soil temperature and soil-seed contact
as well as some very cool nights
and slight crusting in areas this year have made for raggedy crop stands in some corn and soybean fields.
However, before you panic, thoroughly scout the field to determine if missing plants are just about to
emerge or if other problems in the field are causing the missing links down the row. If the seed has germinated
and is just emerging, these plants that are late in seeing the light may yet come up to height with the other
plants in the field. Until plants are significantly late such as for two to three weeks behind other plants in the
field, the crop plants may catch up during the season. Depending on how the environmental conditions
continue on corn through to the fifth-leaf stage, the shorter plants can even out with the rest of the field during
this time frame or even a little later. In soybeans, by the third to fifth node, plants under good growing
conditions can even out across the field if limitations on nitrogen fixation and other nutrient use do not occur.
The next eight weeks of crop growth will determine much of the plant health for the season. Moisture
availability during flowering in both corn and soybeans will set the stage for potential yield.
Denise A. McWilliams
Extension Crop Production Specialist