This year with its many environmental stresses, high temperature and lack of moisture are causing many fields to experience “top leaf die back”. This top leaf die back can be easily confused with European corn bore (ECB) damage or anthracnose top kill. With European corn bore damage, you will find holes (tunnels) in the upper stalk. With anthracnose top kill you will find the presence of black lesions on the outer stalk tissue behind the leaf sheaths. So, if European corn bore damage and anthracnose top kill are eliminated, then it’s top leaf die back. The impact of the top leaf die back on grain yields will depend when the leaves died during grain filling.
I am finding corn moistures reading 26% to 28% on early planted 105 day corn. Don’t wait too long before you start fall harvest, stalk quality is poor!