Fast action reduces corn losses

By Tom Lollis

Pawel Wiatrak, agronomist at Edisto Research & Education Center An early April freeze left corn fields all over the state looking dead, but a Clemson corn expert and county Extension agents helped farmers save millions of dollars through wise decisions on replanting.

Pawel Wiatrak, agronomist at Edisto Research & Education Center, sent a newsletter to county agents, growers and seed companies explaining the growth habits of corn and urging them to evaluate the extent of cold damage by looking for signs of life below the soil surface.

He and Extension agents helped growers evaluate the damage and make replanting decisions. In some counties no corn had to be replanted. In others it was up to 80 percent. Worst losses were in Lexington, Sumter, Clarendon, Williamsburg, Horry, Allendale and Colleton counties.

Wiatrak estimates that 27 percent of the state’s corn was replanted at a cost of about $3 million. If all the corn had been replanted, the cost would have been more than $13 million.

For information: Pawel Wiatrak, 803-284-3343, ext. 261,