Some of our older fields are tasseling now and the very oldest are even starting to drop pollen. We’re pretty much on pace with where we were this time last year. The weather has been fair this year, so most of our corn looks pretty decent so far.
The high temperature is forecast to be right around 90 for the next several days. This should be good for pollination. We start to see problems when we get over 95 during pollination. Pollen production and viability decreases and silks can be late to come out, especially if its dry too. If the temperature stays about where it is and we don’t dry out too much, pollination should be decent.
Now is the time to really start scouting for disease. Northern corn leaf blight (NCLB) and Southern rust are the two biggest diseases we need to look out for. NCLB survives the winter on crop residue, so we could see it out there right now. Fields that have had corn two years in a row are good places to find NCLB. Southern rust typically blows up from the south and tends to be a later season disease. Last year it came in so late that it didn’t have enough time to cause us any significant damage. Lets hope its the same way this year.
If disease pressure is low, we try to hold off as long as possible before making a preventative fungicide application. That way we only have to do it once and, ideally, it will carry us through to the end of the season. If disease pressure gets high, that may not be an option. Get out there and scout and be aware of whats going on in each field. Fungicide recommendations for corn can be found here starting on page 75: UGA Corn Pest Management