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Critical Time for Corn Approaching

CORN FRED JULY 13Friday afternoon I went out to the farm to check on the crops. I had not been out there since Monday afternoon. I did have a few acres of beans that drowned out after Sunday night’s 5-inch rain. Fortunately most of the water receded before the beans were killed. If I had to pick between 5 inches of rain or no rain for a month I would take the 5 inches because corn is reaching the critical reproductive phase.

You can see the corn is shooting tassels now. After the tassels the silks on the end of the ear will emerge in four or five days. The pollen from the tassel will be released and be blown by the wind or fall toward the ground. The silks will capture the pollen. Then the pollen will move down the silk to the base of the ear and fertilize the egg which becomes a kernel of corn.

Any type of stress during corn pollination can dramatically affect corn yields. Very high temperatures can kill the pollen as it is shed from the tassel. Of course then it will not fertilize the egg at the base of the ear. If it is dry and the corn drought stresses that can also have a big impact on pollination. High temperatures will have a lesser impact on pollination if there is high humidity. So, high temperatures and high humidity make it miserable for people and animals, it is better for corn.

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