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How Saturated Soils Affect Corn Yield

Will saturated soils be a detriment to corn crops later in the season? When water saturation is high early in the season, corn crops could see immediate negative effects carrying late into the season. The major issue with plants in saturated soil is that photosynthesis is greatly reduced. This is due to the fact that cool soil temperatures and lack of oxygen halt root growth and leaf expansion. Despite the use of precision technology, small corn plants are susceptible to early-season water saturation, showing immediate issues when affected.  
 corn crop in saturated fields

The Impact of Temperature...

Temperature can have a large impact on the extent of the damage from saturated soil. When plants are in cool, cloudy weather, growth is slowed. This type of weather is ideal for minimizing damage to plants in flood situations as more oxygen is available. Warm, sunny weather can increase long-term damage.  When plants are saturated for more than 24 hours, they can become infected by mildew. The danger with mildew is that physical symptoms cannot be detected immediately, and growth can cause twisting and rolling of upper leaves.
 

Checking For Damage...

To detect if saturated soil is having an impact on your crop, check for yellow leaves. This will indicate that photosynthesis is slowing down. If normal soil conditions return and your plants are still alive, they will begin photosynthesis again with little impact on future yield. However, if root growth does not surpass the first few inches of soil before saturation, problems such as root rot, stalk rot and low stability could affect the plants later in the season. The point of submersion in relation to the growing point will determine how long the plant will survive in saturation.
 
Research has shown that yield could be reduced from 5-32% due to early season flooding. How will you deal with saturated soil this growing season? Let us know on our Twitter page!

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