Too Cold For Summer?

by Bradley Slyder, Plant Pathology major

This summer I have been blessed enough to gain an internship as a field scout, unfortunately, this job was a lot “cooler”  than I expected it to be.

corn seedlings

Photos by Bradley Slyder.

According to, the only dry spell for my areaaccrued from April 11-17. To add to that on the 19th of April we had “One of the worst flash flood events in . . . History.”  To make things even worse for the crop, this storm brought very cold temperatures to the region for weeks to come making the perfect combination for seedling diseases.

The image above is one I took while scouting a corn field that was planted in mid May. As you can see, there are large spots where the corn is either in very low growth stages, or simply has not emerged at all. This was most likely because of the saturated ground and cool temperatures causing a delay in emergence and germination.

After I went on to investigate further I found that many of these seedlings had also been affected by Penicillium rot root (image below), killing off large amounts of fields. Because of this, the population counts vary greatly throughout the field. Many of the corn fields affected by these seedling diseases range from only 7,000 to 35,000 plants per acre. By my estimates, nearly 70-80% of farmers in my area are replanting all, or most of their corn fields due to this problem.

seedling disease

However, this does not mean the end for agriculture. Nearly every field I’ve scouted that have been planted in late May had very good, even population counts (image below). However because of this problem I suspect many farmers will be holding into their crop longer than usual waiting for higher corn prices to be able to make a profit on this year’s corn.



My name is Brad Slyder, I am currently a junior at The Ohio State University majoring in Plant Pathology with a minor in Agronomy.


This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *