Growers who knocked down standing corn last fall to participate in the government program are concerned whether the immature corn will create a volunteer corn problem this spring. Paul Kassel, field crops specialist in Spencer, collected seed samples last fall from two fields in the 0/92 program. Seed from both fields showed greater than 80 percent germination in spite of the corns immaturity. (The less mature field was in the late milk stage at the time of destruction.) Paul plans to collect ears from the fields this week to evaluate winter survival of the seed.
Even if the majority of this seed fails to overwinter, there will be sufficient seed present to create a serious volunteer corn problem. The best management strategy in these fields will be to avoid planting corn this year. Several effective control options are available in soy-beans, but there will be no effective control strategy if the field is planted to corn. Delayed planting and deep tillage may help reduce volunteer corn populations, but these strategies probably will not reduce populations to an acceptable level.
Two herbicide options have been discussed for selectively controlling volunteer corn in corn. One involves Pursuit with IR/IT hybrids, however, Pursuits activity on corn is highly variable. In some situations it may provide adequate suppression of the volunteer corn, whereas in others it might have no effect. The second option involves adding a low rate of Scepter to the Pursuit. This should be avoided because Scepter is not registered for use on corn.