Stress: It’s Bad for Your Corn, Too

Stress is bad for you, and too much can have a negative impact on your performance. But did you know, stress is bad for your corn’s performance, too? Chad Threewits, agronomy service representative with Syngenta, says growers should manage their corn’s stress level as best they can to protect its yield potential. And that starts with good, early-season weed control.

“Weeds can fundamentally alter what the corn growth is and what it does. When weeds are there at corn emergence, they are really an immediate source of stress. So, as soon as they start to emerge the corn starts to react differently. The corn plants tend to try to outgrow those weeds, so they try to get taller. Unfortunately, the alternative thing that happens is we get a lack of root growth. So, you get a taller plant, less roots, and then a lot of times those corn plants will want to grow down the row, instead of out into the row. So, when you do that, you’re just getting less sunlight and unfortunately it’s not really optimum for a corn plant in early season.”

Threewits says there are some lesser-known consequences of having early-season weed competition.

“I think it goes back to this underdeveloped root system. So, we think about just above ground what we see, but it’s really what’s happening below ground. That additional stress, really you got less roots there for how the plant handles stress, how it can take up nutrients. And then even later on in the season how that hurts when we start having lack of moisture and high heat, or even insects. All those things can compound that problem for just having that less developed root system in the corn.”

For corn growers looking to control tough weeds and maximize their yield potential, Threewits recommends Syngenta’s Acuron® corn herbicide.

“When we’re trying to shoot for that full yield potential and protecting the plant, Acuron has four active ingredients including one of those, it’s unique it’s bicyclopyrone, and it has three effective sites of action. So, sites of action are very important when it comes to managing resistance and being effective means that we have activity on those tough-to-control weeds, like waterhemp. We’ve got good burndown, greater consistency and really a longer-lasting residual, and that’s important too. So, we talk about early-season weed control but also late season can hurt. So, really when applied preemergence and a full rate, it gives us the best opportunity to push for those maximum yields. We’ve seen anywhere from five to 15 bushels an acre with Acuron versus other competitive products.”

To find out what an extra five to 15 bushels per acre with Acuron corn herbicide could mean for your revenue potential, try the online calculator at or talk to your local Syngenta retailer. And remember to always read and follow label instructions. Acuron is a Restricted Use Pesticide. Acuron yield advantage range based on 2016 Syngenta and university trials comparing Acuron to Corvus®, Resicore®, SureStart® II and Verdict® herbicide applied preemergence and at full label rates.