July 11, 2021

By Jon Pruitt

Corn plants face a number of environmental challenges every season that can cause physiological stress and reduce yields. A strong root system and healthy stalks play an important role in protecting against these challenges, which can result in improved season-long performance and higher yield potential.

A healthy root mass enables the corn plant to utilize water and essential nutrients more efficiently to support proper growth and development. Just as importantly, strong roots anchor the plant in the soil, making it less susceptible to lodging during a wind event.

While few if any corn plants can withstand the powerful Derecho winds that devastated many Iowa corn fields last season, strong roots and stalks help protect against the more typical storms and high winds that regularly occur in many geographies, including part of my territory in North Dakota.

Weather, however, is not the only threat to performance. Strong roots and stalks aren’t immune to insect damage and disease. However, they can better withstand those challenges if they arise, helping to protect overall plant health and performance.

Harvest time is when the benefits of strong roots and stalks really pay off, and not just in yield potential. Harvest efficiency is also a major advantage. Corn plants that fall over have more harvest losses which then become weed problems the next year. Harvest is a lot smoother and more efficient, as well as enjoyable, when the corn is standing. I think we can all agree that it’s a lot more fun to combine standing corn than picking it up off the ground.

Strong roots and stalks are bred into DEKALB® corn products – important components of the brand’s strong agronomics that contribute to consistent performance year after year. Work with your DEKALB dealer or technical agronomist to find the right DEKALB corn products to stand tall in your field from emergence all the way to harvest.

Jon Pruitt is a DEKALB Asgrow® brand technical agronomist serving northeast North Dakota and northern Minnesota.

ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Performance may vary, from location to location and from year to year, as local growing, soil and weather conditions may vary. Growers should evaluate data from multiple locations and years whenever possible and should consider the impacts of these conditions on the grower’s fields.

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