As corn and soybeans enter their mid-season stage, farmers need effective management strategies to maximize crop health and yield potential. This phase presents unique challenges and opportunities — which require careful monitoring and timely interventions.
Monitor crop development
To effectively manage crops during mid-season, monitor development closely. Regularly assess growth stage, plant height, leaf and canopy development, and reproductive progress.
Crop canopy should be a top priority. A thriving canopy not only facilitates optimal photosynthesis, but also sustains strong stalks that efficiently transport vital nutrients through the plant. Monitor plant height and lodging risks, then adjust management practices to maintain upright plants and reduce the risk of yield loss.
Weed, pest, and disease control
Regular scouting is necessary to identify and effectively manage weed populations. Mid-season weeds such as marestail and waterhemp can greatly increase plant competition and impact crop yield. Implement integrated pest management (IPM) strategies to control insects such as spider mites, corn rootworm, and Japanese beetles. Use techniques such as crop rotation, biological control agents, and targeted insecticide applications when necessary.
Monitor crops for signs of disease, with emphasis on popular mid-season diseases such as gray leaf spot, northern corn leaf blight, and frogeye leaf spot. Consider timely fungicide applications to prevent or mitigate outbreaks.
Mid-season is a critical period for nutrient uptake, particularly for nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur. Over 50% of corn’s nitrogen needs, for example, are required during mid-season stages (V6-reproduction). Soil testing and plant tissue analysis tests can help identify any nutrient deficiencies or imbalances. These test results can inform targeted fertilizer applications that meet nutrient demands.
During mid-season, crops may face various environmental stresses, such as high heat, humidity, or drought. Monitor weather patterns and implement stress management strategies accordingly. If fields have a history of drought, consider utilizing stress-tolerant hybrids or varieties that are resilient in dry weather.
Monitor and adjust management strategies
Flexibility is key, so make necessary adjustments to management strategies based on crop progress. Use regular field scouting and technology-driven tools, such as remote sensing or farm management software, to make better, more data-driven decisions about nutrient applications, pest control, and other management practices.
Harvest planning and preparation
While mid-season management is crucial, so is planning for harvest. Regularly evaluate crop maturity and determine optimal harvest timing based on crop conditions and desired grain moisture content. Prepare equipment and infrastructure (i.e. grain bins) to ensure smooth and efficient harvest operations. Adequate storage facilities and post-harvest handling practices are equally important to preserve grain quality and minimize post-harvest losses.
The bottom line
- Maximize yield potential by closely monitoring crop development, implementing appropriate nutrient management, and effectively controlling weeds, pests, and diseases.
- Regular scouting and stress management can ensure proper health and nutrition throughout peak growth stages. Careful harvest planning will also contribute to successful outcomes.
- Keep on top of management routines and adjust for best results.
Every field is unique — and your local AgriGold agronomist can provide valuable guidance tailored to your specific conditions.