Extra rain causes concern for disease in crops

It’s no secret rain this late in the season can cause issues with crops in the field.

It can cause the untimely death of crops or just make it hard to get in the fields.

Dave Ulrich said it came just at the right time. "If it had been a week or two before we would have had problems,” he said, “Week or two later we would have not been able to get in the field."

For Ulrich, the seven inches of rain couldn’t have come at a better time. He said all the rain actually helping his corn and bean crop.

Field specialists with the ISU Extension Office said there’s a chance for rot and mold with late season rain.

"Ear mold comes when you get a lot of humidity, a lot of rain. That will get caught in the husk and cause some rot which will effect the yield and overall quality of the crop,” said Steven Eilers, ISU Extension Urban Agriculture Specialist.

The recent rain could have spelled disaster for Iowa farmers and Ulrich counts himself as lucky. Walk over, grab an ear of corn and break it in half. It’s dry and mold free."

"The difference between floods of the old days and floods of now is these fields are pattern tiled," Ulrich said.

That means all that extra water drains off protecting the crop and helping to dry out the soil.

Field specialists said the region’s corn crop is about 9 days ahead of schedule which helped fight the wet conditions.

It’s those challenges Ulrich said are just a part of the job.

"But like every year, it has it’s challenges. It’s going to be just fine," he said.

Field specialists said there are two kinds of disease corn is susceptible to this time of year: ear mold and stalk rot.

Soybeans are also at risk of a fungus called white mold.

All of these can be devastating to a crop.



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