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Showing posts from September, 2021

Crop stress = stalk rot risk

  Figure. Corn stalks split length-wise to reveal stalk rot symptoms. The left-most stalk reveals no symptoms, but for the three stalks to the right, symptoms progress from mild to more severe. Photo: Angie Peltier. It likely goes without saying for even the least observant among us, that the severe to exceptional drought conditions that have been present in northwest Minnesota for most of the 2021 growing season stressed the corn crop considerably. Kernels demand sugars.  Developing corn kernels place a very high demand on the plant for sugars. Stress, like that caused by the 2021 drought, reduces the rate of photosynthesis, thereby reducing the amount of sugars that the plant is able to produce. In addition to the abnormally high temperatures and abnormally low precipitation totals, in 2021 much of the corn crop also suffered from nutrient stress as there was little soil moisture into which soil nutrients could be dissolved and carried into plants through mass flow and evapotrans