Today is another day of learning at The Proving Grounds. I checked all the corn food plots on the property yesterday afternoon. The best stand of corn has a maximum of 30% of the population that it should (we planted about 26,000 kernels per acre). The culprit is wireworm. Wireworms live 3-6 years, are about 1’ long, brownish in color, segmented and they live to eat the carbohydrates out of the middle of a grain of corn. This kills the grain of corn and prohibits germination. I took a screwdriver and dug down several yards of drill rows where the corn was planted. There was simply no seed corn to be found. Suspecting this ahead of time (based on problems last year), I had already obtained enough corn to replant the plots after treating it with a much higher level of insecticide. This insecticide doesn’t harm the corn or beneficial insects (like earthworms) that might pass by the kernel. It only kills the pests that eat the corn.
Today we sprayed most of the existing corn with Gramoxone to remove any volunteer crops. This may sound counterintuitive but volunteer crops are unwanted because of how closely together the plants usually grow. Seedling corn simply views any other corn seedlings, beans, etc., as competition (weeds). Gramoxone herbicide is a surface killer. That is to say it is not active in the soil. We couldn’t use Glyphosate as the volunteer corn and beans are Roundup Ready. Because Gramoxone is only surface active, we literally unhooked the sprayer and attached the no-till drill. Brad is planting corn as I write this update.
The soil temperature is warm and there is plenty of soil moisture, so we should know by next week who wins round two (us vs. wireworms). I’ll keep you posted so you won’t have to learn this lesson the hard way.
Growing Deer (and learning) together,