The topsy-turvy weather pattern that occurred early this spring saw many farmers planting earlier than usual. Now, the hot temperatures with little moisture is taking a toll on the young corn crop. La Porte County Agricultural and Natural Resources Extension Educator for Purdue University Eugene Matzat explained that the corn crop isn’t doing the greatest.
“Obviously the corn crop needs a drink of water. It’s showing some signs of stress. Corn that is relatively tall is probably about hip high, and it’s showing signs of moisture stress. I saw some corn late last week that was curling up trying to conserve moisture,” said Matzat.
Unfortunately, there’s no relief in sight as Matzat also noted that no rain is forecast for the immediate future.
“The last I looked, the forecast was for no rain for the next six to seven days,” he said.
Dry soil and hot weather is extremely stressful to young corn plants because they need enough soil moisture to develop their root systems. Day after day without moisture is going to stress the plants to the point of permanent damage, and Matzat said if we go an extended period of time without rain the corn will die.
“Eventually the curling of the leaves will turn into extreme moisture stress. The leaves will scorch or show brown dead tissue, and the crop could be killed,” Matzat noted.
Farmers are used to being patient for the weather conditions to change for the better, so they’re not quite reaching for Maalox yet.