Friday, August 3, 2012

Corn Ears Prematurely Drooping In Drought Stressed Fields

Drought stressed area corn fields have ears in areas of the fields drooping. This is a sign that grain fill has slowed or stopped. When ears droop, ahead of black layer, it is a sign that the test of the grain will be light. Also, lodging is occurring in some fields.
Generally when the ears droop, there is a problem with the ear shank. This may be caused by drought which causes problems in the cells of this plant part or may be some cannibalization of the ear shank.
When ears droop before physiological maturity, the timing of drooping compared to the stage of development of the kernels of the ear determines the impact on yield. Corn yield loss can be greatest when ears drop at full dent. If the milk line moves down towards the cob, then there is less and less impact on yield.
Also, some corn fields are experiencing some light ear drop. Please scout fields and check plants to determine if your corn is susceptible to ear drop.
For more information, contact Wayne Flanary at 660-46-3724 or Heather Benedict at 660-425-6434, Regional Agronomists, University of Missouri Extension

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