Purple corn – Eastern Ontario update

Submitted by Clare Kinlin, Sales and Agronomy Manager, Eastern Ontario
Every year we see purple corn and think that it is phosphorus deficiency in the plant, which it could be but most likely is poor root development of the young plant. This poor root development can be caused by many things such as soil compaction, sidewall compaction, soil type, soil moisture (too much or this year too little), planting depth, nutrient availability, herbicide carry-over, etc. There is always one thing that is common with purple corn and that is poor root development. The vegetative part of the plant is producing more sugar that what the used by the plant causing the tissue to turn purple from the sun. These symptoms are usually short lived and the plant quickly grows out of it. Get your shovel and see what is affecting your corn plant’s roots. In the picture see the two different root masses from the same field.

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