A San Joaquin Valley corn grower noticed distorted growth and burned leaves on some of his plants. In his dogged determination to find its cause, he managed to alienate his seed rep, his pest control adviser, and his herbicide application contractor. UCCE farm advisor Carol Frate saw what was going on and asked if she could do her own research into the cause of the plant injuries. Drawing on her knowledge of soil types, weather patterns, plant growth, herbicides, and more, she was able to find the surprising cause: hot, sandy soil was being thrown upward during cultivation, scorching the younger cornstalks. By accurately identify the cause, she was able to assure all parties that there would be no long-lasting impacts and that nearly all of the affected plants would survive. By applying scientific principles and her own knowledge, Carol was able to repair hard feelings among business associates, and perhaps even avert a lawsuit.