Wind Damage: Will Your Corn Stand Up?

That year, the environmental conditions in the regions hit were similar — rainfall during the first part of June had been limited, but warm weather had the corn taking off.

“This has meant relatively dry surface soils, which encouraged roots to grow deeper,” wrote Nafziger. “So, the crop was well-anchored by its root system when the wind blew.”

That year, since soils were relatively dry when the winds hit, water uptake had slowed slightly, Nafziger said in his report. The drying soils mean the cells in the stalk were taking in a little less water. This decreased the internal cell pressure and decreased the tendency for plants to snap off at a node.

Corn roots can gooseneck (bend towards upright) after lodging, but gradually lose their ability to do this as the corn matures, or as the stalks become lignified. If plants are only bent over with their roots intact and still in the soil, they will recover faster and better than root-lodged plants, Nafizger noted.

Reading Bob Nielsen’s writings on corn wind damage give a similar view and are heavily referenced in the Quinn bulletin. Find Nielsen’s views here:….

Nielsen and Quinn both urge farmers to NOT make an assessment about wind damage the day after the storm. Instead, it is suggested that farmers give the crop four to five days to allow the damaged plants to demonstrate whether they will recover.

Simple leaning or bending of plants caused by strong winds represents the least of the types of wind damage, Nielsen wrote. “Such plants should recover most, if not all, of their uprightness and if this recovery occurs prior to pollination there should be little effect on the success of pollination,” he observed in that report.

I’ve received several “helpful” Twitter messages indicating it was likely a specific brand of corn that went down. Thanks for those suggestions, but I find it doubtful that every flattened field in the many I passed were planted to the same brand. The planting date didn’t seem to have much to do with the wind damage either — even small corn was leaning.

Nor, would this amount of damage and the consistency of the flattened corn seem to indicate rootworm damage — although we are coming up on a good time to do root digs to find out if traits and products are working. Here’s a good item on how to assess that problem:…

This storm event left me with no choice but to put Chumbawamba’s Tubthumping on my play list. The last two days all I’ve had this going through my head: “I get knocked down, but I get up again; You are never gonna keep me down.”

For an article about evaluating late season wind damage from last year’s Iowa derecho go to…

Pamela Smith can be reached at

Follow her on Twitter @PamSmithDTN

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