Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, July 04, 1998, Image 127

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    COLUMBUS. Ohio Water
logged fields in southern Ohio
could likely see crop injury and
potential yield losses because of
excessive rains in June that
flooded very young com plants.
Com is especially vulnerable if
floodwaters cover the crop for ape
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more than two days when the
plant’s growing point is below the
soil surface, which is prior to the
leaf collar stage or growth stage
six, said Peter Thomison, an agro
nomist with Ohio State Univer
sity. After 48 hours of flooding,
the oxygen supply is usually de-
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pleted in the soil, and the plant
cannot perform critical life func
Those kids of conditions occur
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merits of the planting season, said
the county’s extension agent Dave
“In our major creek bottoms,
we have several places where wa
ter was over the com for four
days,” Samples said.
Although excessive rainfall was
unwelcome in southern Ohio as
well as other other parts of the wa
ter-weary Midwest, it broke a
month-long dry spell in north
western Ohio, one of the state’s
major crop production areas.
“Even where you had too much
rain and there were pockets of
ponding, the rest of the field really
benefited,” said Paul Houdashelt,
manager of the Northwestern
Branch of Ohio State’s Ohio Agri
cultural Research and Develop
ment Center in Wood County.
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2397 Carlisle Road
(717) 764-1094
Lancaster Farming, Saturday, July 4, 1998-D3
“We really needed the rainfall,”
Houdashelt said.
Ohio’s No. 1 wheat, com and
soybean production county is
Wood County. Neighboring coun
ties consistently rank in the state’s
top 10 annual production for those
As for fanners in water-logged
areas such as Jackson County,
Samples said they might consider
replanting to shorter-season com
varieties, which take less time to
reach maturity than earlier
planted com. But time is fast run
ning out in the planting season for
any com variety to reach maxi
mum yield potential by fall. Farm
ers may also consider switching to
soybean as long as their com
herbicide program is compatible
with the crop, he said.
Com planted with no-till or reduced-tillage
practices on upland soils escaped flooding
and arc generally better off than crops in low
lying areas. Samples said. No-till and re
duced-tillage practices are conservation me
thods that minimize soil losses to wind and
water erosion.
Jackson County had a weekend reprieve
from wet conditions June 19 to June 20, al
though other parts of the state got rainfall.
Samples said. By June 22, the county had
gone four days without rain, he said.
“The wheat is coming along real nicely,”
Samples said. “As for soybeans, the crops
that are on better-drained soils are doing all
right, but are still pale. The beans that saw
water impounding are stunted, and we sus
tained losses there.”
Thomison said that corn’s chances for sur
viving a flood are better when the growing
point is above the soil surface and also it
temperatures are less than 77 degrees F dur
ing flooding.
“Since some of the com in southern Ohio
that was subjected to saturated soil condi
tions had not yet reached the six-leaf stage,
there is potential for flooding and ponding in
jury,” Thomison said.
Even if com plants survive flooding, farm
ers’ problems aren’t over yet, Thomison said.
The crop can see some longer-term produc
tion problems later in the growing season. A
disease known as crazy top is a common
problem in a wet year, and hybrids have lim
ited resistance, Thomison said.
Symptoms of crazy top are rolling leaves
or the proliferation of husks due to abnormal
tissue growth. The fungus causing crazy top
depends on saturated soils to infect com
seedlings, resulting in abnormal tissue devel
“That’s been the potential characteristic in
this bottom ground when you get the water
over the com,” Samples said. “But com smut
seems to be more of a problem here than
crazy top.”
In addition excessive moisture during ear
ly growth stages can retard com root devel
opment Thomison said. If the weather turns
dry, the roots will not be developed enough
to reach deeg>into the soil moisture reserves.
Too much rain can also affect nitrogen fer
tilizers that farmers applied to their fields.
“Flooding and ponding can also result in los
ses of nitrogen through denitrification and
leaching,” he said.
Farmers who suspect flooding injury can
visually check the color of plants’ gibwing
points for damage potential, Thomison said.
A darkened or softened growing point pre
cedes plant death, while a white cr cream
colored growing point indicate a healthy
plant. To be sure, check fields for new leaf
growth three to five days after water drains
The Ohio Agricultural Statistics Service
reported that Ohio precipitation is almost two
inches above normal for the growing season
starting April 1. The state received 11.94
inches for the growing season as of June 21,
the service reported. High-moisture regions
are the southwest, west central and south cen
tral. which exceeded the precipitation norm,
respectively, by 7.93 inches, 4.07 inches and
3.66 inches.