Corn School: Harvest quickly to limit losses to gibberella


If you’re noticing a little fuzzy trouble with your corn crop this year — you’re not alone. With rainfall after rainfall at pollination (but not before!), the weather created perfect conditions for gibberella infection and spread.

If you’ve scouted your corn crop and have found pink mould growth at the tip of the cob, chances are you have it, however, there is some good news, as Peter ‘Wheat Pete’ Johnson, says, “Not to panic!”

In this episode of RealAgriculture’s Corn school, Wheat Pete takes a step out of the wheat field and explains what the fungus is all about.

Johnson says the corn crop in Ontario was certainly dry leading up to pollination, so most didn’t think to spray a fungicide. But then most regretted not spraying for disease, as the rains came right when the corn started to pollinate, creating perfect conditions for gibberella development. Of note this year, it’s silk channel infection, not western bean cutworm damage, that is causing most of the issues.

The first sign you’ll come across are sprouted kernels, Johnson says, as it effects the hormone balance from within. Johnson says the longer the disease grows, the more toxin it creates especially with the humid and damp weather Ontario has been experiencing. In order to avoid squishy corn at harvest, he says to take it off the field as soon as you can.

Click here for more Corn School episodes.

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