Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

East-Central and Southeast Iowa Crop Information


June 30, 2006

June 30, 2006


Potassium Deficiency Symptoms

We are again seeing corn fields with areas in the fields that are stunted with the lower leaves yellowing and browning along the margins. This is a symptom of K deficiency, but is often due to poor root function rather than a shortage of K in the soil. The end rows are often better than the rest of the field, probably due to the different soil structure where the traffic and/or tillage pattern has been different. Usually the fields look fine until the corn gets to be about calf high, then corn in areas of the field stop growing and the lower leaves turn yellow. Good corn can be right next to extremely stunted corn with no apparent reason for it. The corn in these areas remain stunted and the lower leaves remain yellow, but they usually yield better than expected.

Anything that restricts root growth during the initiation of the nodal root system can lead to the problem. The nodal roots emerge within an inch of the soil surface. If there is something in the surface inch or so that the roots don't "like" they don't function properly. There can be large differences among hybrids in showing this phenomenon. Shallow planting and/or soil settling or eroding after planting aggravates the problem. If the soil hasn't been tested recently, soil samples should be taken to make sure it is not a true K deficiency problem. Soils that are low or marginal in K are more likely to show the problem. In many fields it is difficult to come up with an explanation why the problem is appearing. It is most common in no-till fields, but shows up in tilled fields as well. In tilled fields, it can show up where the soil is fairly "fluffy", especially under dry conditions. Since the end rows usually look better, it could be that a little surface compaction actually helps to alleviate the problem. There is nothing that can be done when the problem appears.  An excellent discussion of this problem in both corn and soybean is on pages 123 – 124 of the June 20, 2005 Integrated Crop Management (ICM) Newsletter or at



Soybean Aphids & Potato Leafhoppers

Potato leafhoppers can be found in most soybean fields in the area, but fortunately leafhoppers seldom cause economic problems in soybeans because of the hairs on soybean leaves. The small leafhopper nymphs look similar to aphids, but I have not found aphids in any soybean fields in EC or SE Iowa yet. Brian Lang reports very low numbers of aphids being found in NE Iowa. So far it looks like this will be another “off’ aphid year with fewer aphid problems.

Soybean Rust

So far there has only been one case of rust being found on soybeans in the US this year, in a sentinel plot in Florida. More info can be found at



Potato Leafhoppers

High numbers of potato leafhoppers can be found in some hay fields.  Be sure to also use a sweep net to monitor potato leafhopper numbers and treat if numbers exceed the threshold.  For more information on managing potato leafhopper, see pages 107 - 110 of the June 21, 1999 Iowa State University Integrated Crop Management Newsletter or  Remember, waiting to see hopperburn is waiting too long as substantial losses have already occurred by that time.



Pasture Walk – July 6 - - 6:00 p.m. Steve Streets Farm – East of Onslow (Jones County)


Controlled Drainage and Tile Installation Field Day – Wednesday, July 12

(Rain Date July 13)

SE Iowa Research & Demonstration Farm - Crawfordsville

9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


·        Trenching and Plowing Equipment in Operation in the Field

·        Shallow, narrow spacing of tile vs. wider, deeper spacing

·        Controlled drainage experiment

·        Constructed wetland to reduce nitrates in tile water

·        Commercial & Educational Exhibits

11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Special Session for CCAs with presentations by Dr. Matt Helmers and Dr. Jim Baker. Earn 3 hours of credit in soil and water ($40 fee). Send Jim Fawcett an e-mail note by July 10 if you plan to attend the CCA session or want more information.


Muscatine Island Research & Demonstration Farm Spring Field Day – July 17, 2006 5:00 p.m.

Details will be forthcoming.  This will have a commercial horticulture orientation.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Iowa State University Extension Office.

maroon ball East Central and Southeast Iowa Crops Home Page maroon ball ISU Extension and Outreach maroon ball ISU maroon ball ISU Extension Agronomy maroon ball ISU Agronomy
maroon ball Calendar maroon ball Search maroon ball Jobs maroon ball Feedback maroon ball Internet Resources maroon ball State Extension Sites in Other States maroon ball Local Extension Offices in Other States

Last Update: July 29, 2006
Contact: Jim Fawcett

Nondiscrimination Statement and Information Disclosures