Hot, humid weather across much of corn-growing areas of Ontario has the crop adding a leaf stage about every four days. As corn pops in to that 4-leaf to 5-leaf stage, it’s time to get some dust on the boots and check three key aspects of early crop establishment: plant health, weed escapes, and planter performance.

Your guide for this step-by-step Corn School post-planting checklist is Steph Kowalski, agronomy lead for the Agromart Group. She joins RealAgriculture’s Bern Tobin in the field to check in on inter-veinal striping and determining nutrient deficiency, documenting weed escapes, and lining up doubles, skips, or late emerging plants to the planter row.


  • Get down and look for any symptoms or odd growth on plants themselves. During very rapid growth, striping can be alarming and easily confused for a deficiency
  • Do you see any weed patches? Kowalski says that some tough-to-kill weeds like horsetail, nutsedge, and annual bluegrass are a growing issue. Document any patches, as resistant weeds are also building in number and area, and put a long-term plan together for these misses
  • If you see gaps or skips in a row, get digging. A missing plant could be environmental or pest related or it could be a planter issue. Noticing a trend in skips, doubles or gaps? Use wheel tracks to observe whether or not the issue shows up consistently in a field before you head back to the shed to do a once-over on the planter. Tap here for a video on prepping the planter for storage.

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