GENESEO, Ill. — Late planting, heavy rains and finding the right nutrient prescription were just a few of the hurdles corn growers overcame during this growing season.

Despite all of the early challenges, the corn crop seems to have recovered, according to Steve Zobrist, Wyffels Hybrids district sales manager.

“A lot of the corn in my area looks pretty good for the most part. A lot of the corn is around that V7 growth stage,” Zobrist said recently, adding much of the corn in his area was planted around May 14-15.

Heavy rain went through Zobrist’s area around Memorial Day, downing out some portions of fields

“Some of those fields planted close to around May 20 experienced some seedling blight issues, so we lost some stand counts there. Some of those areas in fields had to be replanted,” he said. “There was a lot of sidedressing that went on. Some of it was planned. Some of it was they thought they were a little short on nitrogen and put some extra units out there.”

Since that time, Zobrist said, the corn conditions have improved.

“A lot of this corn has turned around. A lot of fields that had some yellow areas in it, now that we’ve got some heat and it dried out a little bit, got some air down in the soils since we’ve dried out, those roots have taken off and started to grow again,” he said. “It really changed the corn crop quite a bit in the last week.

“We probably lost a little bit of nitrogen, but I’m not sure that it’s as severe as maybe what the scare was that was going around the countryside. I just think some of that nitrogen moved a little bit deeper in the soil profile, and the roots weren’t quite there to be able to grab it yet.

“Now that we’ve gotten warmed up and the fields aren’t saturated like they were before, with the warmer soil temperatures, the roots have taken off and growing, and again they’re able to take up some nutrients and really turn the color of the crop around.”

About 800 growing degree days were accumulated as of June 18 that has helped move the crop.

“Overall, in this area, the corn crop looks really good compared to southern Illinois and parts of Iowa,” Zobrist said.

As the crop matures, growers need to scout for any potential disease or insect problems.

“Rootworm hatch is going on right now, so in another two weeks or so, we need to probably start keeping an eye out for some rootworm that could happen,” the specialist said. “We’re at 50-percent rootworm hatch (on June 18), so we’ll start seeing some rootworm larvae damage show up in two to three weeks.

“As we move forward, gray leaf spot would be one to scout for, especially as we get closer to tassel. As far as diseases, gray leaf spot would be the main one as to whether or not it would warrant a fungicide application as we move forward.”

Zobrist noted the quick change in the corn crop the past two weeks.

“We’re getting 20 to 25 heat units a day right now, so that corn crop is going to start putting on a new leaf collar about every three and one-half to four days here for the next couple of weeks until we get that V10 growth stage, and then it will happen a little quicker,” he said.

“It will get new leaves about every 50 heat units, instead of about 82 heat units we get right now for a new leaf collar until we hit that V10 growth stage.

“The corn crop is just in the beginning of its rapid growth stage, and it’s going to change a lot in the next two weeks, especially if we get good growing conditions. It’s off to the races now as far as growth.”