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


I was sure that it was serious when I got a call from a corn grower who said that stalks were mysteriously breaking down in his ‘best dirt.’ Growers know their fields. They know that, when a particular piece of ground delivers year after year, there is cause for concern when things don’t look right.

Chuck, a grower from Simcoe County, called from his field just before harvest. “My stalks are breaking down in my best dirt, but they’re standing up in the poor dirt. What’s happening?” he asked.

I knew the field Chuck was talking about. It has a gravel knoll up near the barn and the opposite, lower end is where he’s harvested some of his best yields. What he described was definitely backwards.

Better Farming - December 2008