Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest As the difficult 2015 season progresses toward harvest, Ohio’s growers may continue to face more challenges before the year is over. While there is not much that can be done at this point for the 2015 crop, scouting fields will help growers to decide which fields need to be harvested first as well as what plans should be made for next year in terms of crop rotation, tillage, varietal selection, etc.In many areas of the state, diseases have developed in both corn and soybean fields. Weather played a big part in the appearance and development of disease. For soybeans, sclerotinia white mold (SWM), sudden death syndrome (SDS), and frogeye leaf spot (FE) have developed late in the season. Rainy weather from May through July created an environment conducive to SWM development below the canopy. SDS has appeared in areas of fields where soil compaction exists and soil was saturated for long periods of time this spring. Wet weather has also cause FE to develop in certain areas of the state, especially on susceptible varieties. Determining what diseases are present in 2015 will allow growers to make management decisions for next year such as rotating to corn, choosing resistant varieties, or alleviating compaction and improving soil drainage.In corn, gray leaf spot (GLS), which can be identified by lesions that look like elongated rectangles, became a problem in certain areas of Ohio this year, requiring growers to apply a fungicide. GLS development occurs where conditions such as periods of heavy dew, fog, or light rain exist. Northern corn leaf blight (NCLB), identified by large “cigar-shaped” lesions, showed up in Ohio fields as much as two weeks earlier than normal this year and caused severe leaf damage on susceptible hybrids where disease pressure was heavy. NCLB development occurs as a result of wet, humid weather where periods of heavy dew and fog exist.In fields where these diseases developed, growers should consider crop rotation away from corn, tilling residues, and planting hybrids with good resistance to disease in the future. Because fungicide applications are costly, many factors should be taken into consideration to determine if they are necessary. Crop stage, disease pressure, crop rotation history, hybrid disease resistance, and weather patterns are all factors that need to be considered before applying fungicides.As crops approach maturity and harvest begins, standability could become an issue in corn fields. Root-restricting compaction exists in fields that were planted when soil was too wet or “marginal.” Where wet weather has persisted and soils have been saturated, root development has been limited. With limited root development, the possibility of root lodging is a concern. Additionally, Ohio’s corn fields have experienced various environmental factors that create stress conditions for the plant and as a result, stalk rots could be an issue late in the season. Ohio State University Bulletin 802 states: “The severity of stalk rot is confounded by plant stress. In general, the greater the stress the plant endures, the greater the severity of stalk rot. This has been demonstrated very well with plant nutrition. Plants with excessively high levels of nitrogen or with an imbalance between nitrogen and potassium are very susceptible to stalk rot. Plants stressed by drought (especially late season drought), foliage disease, or insect injury generally have more stalk rot.”Ohio’s corn fields have experienced nitrogen loss, leaf disease, and insect damage this year. Some areas of the state have experienced dry conditions late in the season as well. Where standability is a concern, corn should be harvested as soon as possible after reaching physiological maturity.Estimating yields and evaluating varietal performance will be a challenge this year. One theme that appears almost everywhere in the state is variability. In a single field it is not uncommon to see areas that will produce average or better yields while wet spots may not produce anything at all. Variability as a result of excessive wet weather will hurt yields and will cause lower field averages across much of the state.While many of the factors making 2015 a challenging year are out of the grower’s control, scouting, note taking, and collecting harvest data will still aid Ohio’s farmer in determining what needs to be done after harvest and next spring. Growers should use the time between now and harvest to observe what issues exist in their fields and use that information to make sound management decisions in the future.