COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Despite a myriad of localized problems from ponding, to hail and frost damage, to soil crusting, Ohio's newly planted corn crop is on its way to a promising growing season.
According to the Ohio Agricultural Statistics Service, less than 10 percent of the corn crop is rated in poor condition.
"We are having a pretty good year so far," said Peter Thomison, an Ohio State University Extension agronomist. "By and large, things are much better than they could be compared to 2005."
Last year, many growers were forced to replant their crop when cold, wet weather damaged much of the early-planted corn. While growers raced to complete planting by mid-April last year, they put the reins on planting this year with the majority of the crop going into the ground by the first week of May.
"This season, one of the issues has been the color of the corn crop. During the recent cold, wet period the crop, which was beginning to emerge, turned yellow because it was not taking up sufficient nitrogen," said Thomison, who also holds a partial research appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. "But reports this week indicate the corn is greening up now with warmer temperatures."
The biggest area of concern, said Thomison, is from the crop that was planted just before the weather turned cold and rainy.
"This corn was often subjected to cool, saturated conditions and just didn't grow as well during that period. Because the root growth was slowed and damaged, it will take a few more days than normal for the corn to resume growing in some areas," said Thomison. "And a few more days of 90 degree temperatures, like we've been having, will just boil those plants. They'll literally bake out in the heat."
In addition to problems associated with the weather, pests such as cutworm and armyworm are making a meal of the crop.
"Cutworm can cause some significant stand losses and armyworm can cause significant defoliation," said Thomison. "The good thing is that the corn crop at this stage of development is relatively tolerant of tissue damage."
While corn struggles to overcome health problems associated with prolonged saturated soil conditions, it can tolerate a large amount of above-ground damage.
"Up to the five-leaf collar stage, corn can lose a tremendous amount of leaf tissue and not experience major damage," said Thomison. "As long as there is no secondary damage, such as bacteria getting into the whorl, corn can generally recover and produce good yields."