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Individual Plant Assessment

June 25, 2020

6.25.20 | Individual Plant Assessment from Central Valley Ag on Vimeo.

Tim Mundorf, CVA Nutrient Management Lead

When we are out looking at our fields, it's always a good idea to bring along a shovel. Early in the season, a small garden shovel works well, but later in the season (V6+ corn), it's best to have a full-sized shovel or spade. We will use that shovel to dig in areas we are missing a plant to see what went wrong. We will also use it to dig up plants that appear stunted or off-color to compare the root systems to plants around them or in better-looking areas.

Early in the season, I like to look at the depth of planting by digging up a corn plant and evaluating it. I then set the crown of that young plant at ¾ inch on my tape measure and measuring the distance down to the seed. The crown tends to set at approximately ¾ inch below the soil surface, the distance from the seed to the crown + ¾ inch is my planting depth.   

I also want to assess early root development. Some questions to ask are: 1) Do the roots and crown have a healthy white color? (diseases) 2) Are the roots growing away from the plant in all directions and at approximately a 35 to 45-degree angle? (compaction issues) 3) Is there any obvious feeding from insects or nematodes? Look for insects in the soil around the roots as you dig up the plants. Wireworm, grubs, seedcorn maggots, and cutworm are common early-season pests.  

When you see plants that are behind in emergence, those are good ones to dig up to compare to your more mature plants. Does the reason for the late emergence become apparent when the plant is dug up? Sometimes its uneven planting depth, unusual plant development underground, or crop stover pinned into the seed slot. 
If you are happy with what you are seeing underground early in the season and you have a good stand with even spacing and emergence, you are well on your way to a good crop.   

Figure 3   Developing corn plant root system   University of Missouri

Posted: 6/25/2020 6:44:55 PM by Kelli Reznicek | with 0 comments

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