Easter freeze damages corn

The Southeast is expecting a large corn crop for 2007, but a record cold Easter weekend storm may put a damper on this year’s crop. At greatest risk is corn planted during the last week in March.

If corn seed absorb moisture and freeze while in the soil the seminal, or seed roots, may be damaged or destroyed. The resulting underground corkscrew effect will cause some seed to not germinate and others to be stunted and non-productive throughout the growing season.

Overall, the extent of damage caused by the record setting Easter weekend cold weather will not be known for some time.

And Virginia Tech Agronomist Wade Thomason cautions growers against making a decision to replant too early.

“In Virginia, we are hopeful the warm soil temps prior to this cold snap will help buffer these cold air temperatures and that damage will be minor to moderate. At this point I think it's really too early to assess the full extent of the problem so it's too early to talk about replanting,” Thomason says.

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