Diagnosing Corn Stand Establishment Issues

Understanding what may have caused a reduced stand can help you prevent the same issues from occurring next year or perhaps help you make a better replant decision. Get tips on identifying causes of stand problems.

Symptom Likely Cause Result
No seed found. Planter issues, rodents or birds. You should see evidence of digging by rodents or birds. Missing plants (skips)
Poorly developed radicle or coleoptile with evidence of dark discoloration on them. Disease, seed rots, poor vigor Skips
Seeds hollowed out. Insect damage by seedcorn maggot or wireworm Skips
Discolored and malformed seedlings. Twisted roots or clubbed roots. Herbicide injury Skips
Short coleoptiles. Leaves emerging prematurely. Imbibitional chilling damage Weak seedlings. Death if leaves don't reach surface.
Brown necrotic tissue behind root meristem. Dead root or shoot meristems. Many lateral roots. Chilling damage
Seedlings may survive if lateral roots take over. Death if shoot meristem is damaged.
Leaf shredding, bursting at coleoptile side, coleoptile damage. Seed furrow compaction. Mechanical damage to the seed. Soil crusting. Usually death. Seedlings lose ability to penetrate soil.
Corkscrew coleoptiles
Knobby roots
Temperature fluctuations
Herbicide damage
Usually death
Leafing out underground. Light penetration. Improper furrow closure, sidewall compaction. Chilling Leaves do not reach soil surface.
Seedling death
Wilting, dead seedlings postemergence Seedling diseases Death
Brown root tips, purple, wilted seedling Salt injury from fertilizer or high manure rates. Possible death if enough roots affected and little lateral root growth present.


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