Flooded Corn Fields, Saturated Soils

How long can corn seedlings survive in standing water?

The storms last Sunday, May 25, and again on the May 29 and 30 have unloaded extraordinary amounts of rain in many parts of Iowa. Soils in the majority of the state are likely saturated.

Low lying areas of fields whether they are tiled or not, are covered with ponds and areas along streams and rivers are flooded. It is not an attractive sight.

Roger Elmore, Iowa State University Extension corn agronomist, and Lori Abendroth an ISU corn specialist who works with Elmore, offer the following observations and recommendations regarding these issues. 

How long can corn survive?

Many farmers ask--How long can corn seedlings survive in standing water? Corn that is just germinating can perhaps withstand four days of saturated and/or flooded soils.

Seedlings with less than six leaves, can withstand four days under water if air temperatures are less than the high 70’s. If air temperatures are greater than that, seedlings may only survive for one day. Corn has fewer than six leaves at this time throughout Iowa.

You can get more information on this matter on the ISU Corn Production Web site.

Corn replant date is closing fast

As fields drain and soils dry, many farmers will need to assess their options for replanting. Feasible replant dates are closing fast. If you could replant in the next few days, corn may have perhaps 90% yield potential. In 10 days or so yield potential will be around 70% or less. Currently the best information on replanting is at found in ISU Extension publication, Corn Planting Guide (PM 1885).

Consider carefully your options with poor corn stands. If a replant corn is chosen, planting shorter-season, adapted hybrids is now in order.

See more photos are in the image gallery and check out the ISU Corn Production Web site for more information.

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