Up until about two weeks ago, the Upper Midwest and Northeast were rushing toward maturity with warm temperatures and relatively dry conditions.
Then it started raining and raining. In the past two weeks, areas in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan have received upward of 20 inches of precipitation. The dairy states of New York and Pennsylvania have not been much drier.
With the rain has come flooding, fungi, bacteria, and the like.
As Rock River Lab’s John Goeser said in recent correspondence, “I’m expecting this year’s crop to be relatively ‘dirty.’”
For producers that have dealt with flooding, Goeser suggested keeping a close eye on bacterial populations and mud and soil contamination. Additionally, corn that has been flooded at this stage of maturation is a candidate for fermentation issues.
Goeser shared that this year is not a good year to eliminate inoculants. Utilize well-researched preservatives and consider using them at high rates, especially in fields that are suspect for poor fermentation.
Across the Upper Midwest, reports of fungi such as tar spot have been common. Goeser recommended walking fields and monitoring infestations. He said the goal should be to harvest as close to 35 percent whole-plant dry matter as possible. He also suggested being aware of infestations for next year as tar spot is expected to overwinter on residues.
Be aware also of plants and kernels that continue to mature through the wet and soggy weather. “If kernels are well beyond 1/2 milk stage, shorten the chop length during harvest as this will help with kernel processing,” Goeser explained. Shoot for 60 percent or higher kernel processing scores with fresh-chopped corn.
Finally, if corn has snapped off and is dead, Goeser suggested getting it off immediately. If it has bent, but not broke, let it grow out and reach maturity if possible.