Our oldest corn fields are tasseling now and a couple have already started dropping pollen. The corn crop is looking good as we’ve had timely rains in most areas of the Pee Dee.
Pollination is the time when corn is the most sensitive to water stress. We have plenty of moisture in the soil right now in most places and the 10 day forecast shows a few more opportunities for rain.
When we see tasseling start, we start thinking about protective fungicides. To keep production costs as low as possible, everyone should be scouting and making spray decisions based on the amount of disease pressure in your fields. So far disease pressure has been low, but the humidity we’ve seen in the past week could trigger some disease development. Northern corn leaf blight (NCLB) is out there, so keep an eye out for that.
Fields that had corn last year and this year are at a higher risk for NCLB because the fungus can survive on crop residue, so consider that in your funcide application decisions as well. Southern rust has not yet made its way up from the south, but it has been found in the southwest corner of Georgia. Though it’s still a good ways away, southern rust can move this way rapidly if weather conditions continue the same trend we’ve seen in the last week. We’ll keep an eye on it’s movement over the next couple weeks.