Wet Weather May Not Be Enough For Some Corn Fields

OMAFRA’s Corn Industry Lead describes this year’s provincial crop as highly variable.

Ben Rosser says some fields have had timely rains to keep things moving smoothly while others are struggling with extreme moisture stress.

He suggests those under extreme moisture stress likely won’t recover, even with more rain in the forecast.

Some growers are considering taking the corn off to be used for livestock feed.

While Rosser agrees that’s an option, he warns of possible concerns with nitrate levels.

“Particular concern if it’s been dry and then we’ve received rainfall – a significant amount of rainfall – kinda like we had this past weekend or what’s been forecast this week. The issue there is that you can get nitrate accumulation in the soil which will start to drive into the plant with that moisture that’s been received which can spike nitrate levels in the corn plants.”

Nitrate can cause health problems in cattle the corn is fed to.

“Best practice is to wait, you know, at least a week after these rains have been received. Test the corn sileage if you can to get an idea if you’re in the high range or the low range, where you’re at. A couple of options are to maybe harvest a little higher to avoid higher nitrate concentrations in the lower parts of the plant and good fermentation will also help reduce those nitrate levels.”

Rosser also recommends working with a livestock nutritionist to help ensure the safety of livestock being fed this corn.


Rosser says whether it’s going to be enough to salvage some of that moisture-stressed corn will depend on the specific fields.


He cautions that nitrate levels could be a problem with that corn.


Rosser says because of the weather, that corn could have high nitrate levels, a concern if fed to livestock.