When your crops begin to emerge, set aside some time to head back out to the fields and evaluate the crop stands and inspect their condition. Between when the seeds are planted to when they emerge, there’s a long list of factors that affect the germination and emergence of planted crops. Being able to quickly identify any potential issues in the field and determine the causes, whether it’s due to the planter or environmental conditions, allows you to take action in the current growing season or the following spring. To assist you in navigating what to look for out in the field, the E4 Team will discuss some of the steps involved in evaluating corn and soybean stands.
Evaluating Corn and Soybean Stands
As you scout your corn or soybean fields, begin by looking at the overall uniformity of the crop stand. Take note of any unevenness in the emergence and if there are any sizable gaps between plants. With uneven emergence, the crops will look like they are in different growth stages. If plant skips are present, determine the cause by inspecting the affected rows. Gaps can be due to the planter not placing the seed correctly or at all, the seed failed to germinate, or the seed died before emergence.
Inspect the seedlings themselves, look for signs of anhydrous ammonia burns, seed rot, seedling blight, herbicide injury, or insect issues. Anhydrous ammonia burns can be identified if the plant is wilting, discolored, and/or has brown roots that look like they’ve been burnt. Seed rot and seedling blight may be present if the plant has brown/discolored and pinched mesocotyls (white stemlike tissue that connects the seed and base of the coleoptile) and coleoptile (sheath that covers the plant shoot).
For herbicide issues, several different herbicides result in various injury symptoms. But if you notice unusual leaf or stem conditions, like improper leaf unfurling or stem malformations, it could be due to herbicide exposure. Be on the lookout for insects such as seed corn maggots, black cutworm, true armyworm, or other pests like slugs.
By conducting these evaluations, you are better equipped to make crop management decisions that address potential problems. To determine if replanting is needed or not, you should do a stand count.
Getting Crop Stand Counts
Dedicating the time to do crop stand counts is no small task by any means. There are several different methods that growers can use to estimate corn and soybean populations. The team here at E4 has highly skilled technicians that will complete rigorous field and crop inspections that will provide you with timely and comprehensive intel about your field throughout the growing season.