Corn fields can contain numerous pathogens in the soil that are capable of infecting corn seeds and seedlings. Corn planted into a well-prepared seedbed with warm conditions that allow it to emerge quickly, can generally outgrow the effects of pathogen attack. However, corn planted into cold, wet soils that emerges more slowly can be susceptible to injury from soilborne pathogens. Soilborne pathogens may attack seeds and seedlings both before and after plant emergence, as well as the roots and mesocotyl of emerging or established plants.
During the spring planting season, farmers need to watch for several diseases that can affect corn and soybean seedlings. Below we will explore some of the most common emergence diseases.
Plan ahead to avoid ear mold development next season. Rotating crops and planting a hybrid with ear rot resistance can lessen the chance of developing ear molds. Hybrids with in-plant insect protection can reduce insect damage to help prevent diseases from entering the ear.