This season, Iowa farmers have faced large amounts of volunteer corn, and they may encounter the same situation in 2022 thanks to this year’s storms. This is because corn killed during or after the R5 growth stage still has kernels that can survive the winter and germinate in the spring. Now, the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach experts are offering tips to producers for managing volunteer corn.
According to previously conducted research, volunteer corn ranging from 800 to 13,000 plants per acre can result in yield losses totaling 54% in soybean and up to 13% in corn. Additionally, corn rootworm and pathogens can thrive among volunteer corn, meaning farmers must strategize beginning this autumn.
Experts recommended rotating to soybean in storm-damaged fields in 2022. Corn should only be an option if the field has received an herbicide to kill volunteer plants. Secondly, some producers should consider grazing fields or baling crop residue to reduce volunteer corn in areas with significant lodging. Finally, farmers should be prepared to use a non-selective herbicide in the spring to eliminate volunteer corn that emerges before crop planting.
Certain herbicides can be used to control corn volunteers in soybean come 2022. These include Poast, Fusilade, and Select Max. If farmers choose to use one of these products, it should be when emerged volunteer corn is 12 inches or less. By planning for volunteer corn now, producers can head into 2022 with more confidence in regard to crop management.