December 02, 2023

Halfway to harvest: Scouting fields is imperative

Channel Field Check Up Series

July is a critical time for corn farmers as they approach the halfway point to harvest. At this stage of the season, it’s a good time to get out and scout fields for compromised plants that can reveal any early season stressors that may have stymied ear development and, ultimately, yield potential.

Identifying the root cause of plant stress may lead to a critique of planter settings, the planting process and tillage practices. Spending time in the field now provides an opportunity to implement changes and improvements not only for the remainder of this season, but also looking ahead to 2024.

To maximize corn yield, it is important to ensure consistent plant-to-plant development. Every plant should have equal access to water, nutrients and light for healthy growth.

If plants experience delayed emergence or early season stress, they may fall behind in development. Ear development delayed during silking and pollination may ultimately result in reduced kernel set.

Farmers scouting their fields should keep an eye out for plants that may be shorter than their peers and have lower ear placement and smaller-diameter stalks. If smaller, less robust corn plants are found, take some time to discover the cause.

Farmers can dig up the roots to evaluate the health status. Farmers should check planting depth, look to see if root growth was restricted horizontally or vertically and look for evidence of root injury from diseases and insects.

Additionally, it is crucial to assess the soil surface for evidence of ponding water, excessive residue or an open seed slot. Uneven spacing between plants should also be considered as uneven spacing can accentuate inequities in growth.

By conducting thorough evaluations and identifying early season stressors, corn farmers can take proactive measures to optimize their yields. This timely assessment allows them to make adjustments and implement improvements for the upcoming spring planting season, setting the stage for a successful growing season in 2024.

Through careful observation and analysis, farmers can address the challenges they face and work toward achieving optimal plant health and productivity.

As the growing season continues in Illinois, farmers can consider these tips to enhance yield potential. Farmers should consider treating corn and soybean fields with a fungicide treatment for disease control, as well as stress mitigation.

New fungicide products, such as Delaro Complete fungicide, contain multiple modes of action and provide plant health benefits in addition to excellent disease control.

For more information about crop development and field evaluations, contact your local Channel Seedsman or refer to the Agronomy Library at

Always read and follow pesticide label directions. Not all products are registered for use in all states and may be subject to use restrictions. The distribution, sale, or use of an unregistered pesticide is a violation of federal and/or state law and is strictly prohibited. Check with your local dealer or representative for the product registration status in your state. Channel® and the Arrow Design® is a registered trademark of Channel Bio, LLC. Delaro® is a registered trademark of Bayer Group. ©2023 Bayer Group. All rights reserved.