CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 14 Solved: Why is corn breaking down in Chuck’s best dirt?

by David Townsend

Sidewall compaction during planting was the source of trouble in Chuck’s corn.

It was simply too wet when he headed to the field with the planter.

As Chuck rolled over the wet soil, the planter’s disk openers applied horizontal pressure and compacted the sides of the seed row.

If the soil had stayed wet, the seedling roots would have been able to push through the wall and establish a root system. But the weather turned dry and the walls hardened so much that the roots couldn’t penetrate through. Instead, they grew along the path of least resistance – down the seed slot creating tomahawk roots. As a result, they were unable to access the moisture and nutrients required to grow and prosper.

Better Farming - January 2009