Pollen is flying everywhere in the fields now. Based on how bad my nose was running today and how much my eyes hurt, it’s easy to tell we are in full pollination mode for most hybrids planted the last week of April and 106 CRM and earlier. Some of the later hybrids are close to pollination.
Here is a good refresher to check your fields – pull the husks off carefully – yes, there are many leaves there. Once all the leaves are off, shake the ear and see how many silks fall away. Once the seed (kernel) is fertilized, the silk will detach. This gives you an idea of far along you are into pollination. Once pollination is complete, you are good to go with fungicide any time you choose. I like to wait it out. There is very little disease in the fields right now. Yes, you can find some if you look hard enough, but I would rather extend my fungicide coverage into grain fill since I know the plant is not stressed right now. Delaying also helps match up the timing with rootworm adults (more on that at the bottom).
Speaking of fungicide – spraying corn will really start next mid-late next week but some has already begun. We were able to find some gray leaf spot starting today in the plot. The timing will be just right to make sure we don’t interfere with any pollination. The worry about arrested ears was related to a product found in some surfactants 10-12 years ago. Most quality surfactants do not use it anymore, and if you aren’t using any additional adjuvants you should be fine to spray anytime.
Unsure if you have disease? We have an app for that. If you have the Pioneer Seeds app, you can take a picture of a disease on the leaf and the app tells you what it probably is. No app is perfect, but it will narrow down the options.
(PRO TIP – This is also the app where the yield estimator tool is found we will use to count kernels and predit yield once we get to milk stage.)