The hot rainless conditions have caused some crops to become droopy. MU Extension Agronomy Specialist Wayne Flanary says we need moisture soon to allow the roots to penetrate the soil. Although parched soil is not the only reason this happens, a nice soft down pour could make for happy fields.
Click to listen to KMZU’s Mandy Young talk with MU Extension Agronomy Specialist Wayne Flanary:
Floppy Corn Syndrome
Numerous calls have been received in the Extension office regarding floppy corn syndrome. This occurs when the corn plant from V4 to V8 leaf stage starts to set the permanent roots (nodal roots) and the plant falls over.
Plants can survive if the mesocotyl remains so the roots can establish themselves during a rain event. However, with hot dry conditions and dry soils, plants that have fallen over will die if a limited amount of roots move into soil. Rain is critical as roots need moist soil to grow into. However, with dry conditions, the permanent roots but will stub off if exposed to dry soils or exposed to air.
There can be several causes of this problem. First, the crown of the plant sets about three fourths to one inch below the soil surface. This is where the nodal roots grow from. Floppy corn syndrome can be caused by a loose soil seedbed which is packed after germination exposing the nodal roots. Also, soil can be washed away from the plant during a rain event. Lastly, shallow planting of less than one inch can also contribute to this problem.
To correct this problem, we need rain. Be on the watch for other dry weather problems.
For more information, contact Wayne Flanary at 660-446-3724 or Heather Benedict at 660-425-6434, Regional Agronomists, University of Missouri Extension.