Despite tough start, corn yields hanging on in 2022

By Matt Reese

Despite challenges in the spring of 2022, it appears corn yields will be fairly strong this fall. 

Disease levels have remained low.

“There were some challenges early in the spring. We did have some areas with some replants on corn. A lot of the corn went in toward the latter half of May and we had some good stands,” said Brad Miller, Technical Agronomist for DEKALB and Asgrow for northern Ohio. “The crop has progressed really well. Everyone is asking about diseases in corn and I really haven’t seen a whole lot. We have seen light gray leaf spot and northern corn leaf blight just becoming an issue toward the middle of August.”
And, while it was a concern heading into this year, tar spot has not been showing up in heavy quantities in 2022. 

“The big disease on everyone’s mind is tar spot. Last year we saw quite a bit of tar spot in northwest Ohio especially. We have only heard of one confirmed case of tar spot in northwest Ohio this year,” Miller said. “Tar spot is a disease we are learning a lot about, but we still have a lot to learn. A lot of guys sprayed fungicide this year in anticipation of having potential issues with tar spot. That may be what kept the fields really clean. 

“In the situation where we found the tar spot, the corn was not sprayed. The tar spot was very light. We found just one or two small lesions on the ear leaf. You’d have to walk down the row of corn another 5 to 10 feet to find another plant with a couple of specks of tar spot on the leaves.”

Scouting has also revealed strong DEKALB corn yields, he said. 

“I have been out in plots doing yield estimates and on the low end I might see 180 to 185 and there are other farms out there at 225 and 250. The key is these cool nights in August and September and also continue to get good moisture it is going to help with grain fill,” Miller said. “Seeding rates depend on the product, the soil type and yield environment. A lot of the products we are selling today have very good disease tolerance and good late season stalk strength. That certainly helps with supporting a nice ear on that plant when you do push the populations. The whole idea of higher seeding rates is more ears per acre to harvest. If the hybrid can stay healthy later in the season and also maintain ear size, that is what you’re looking for.”

This article was contributed by The Ohio Country Journal for DEKALB.

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