This is a critical time for the corn crop. We refer to it as pollination. The tassel on the corn plant is the male part of the plant. The silks and ear the female. Three to five days after the tassels emerge you will see the silks on the developing ear. Pollen is shed from the tassel and is captured by the silk. The sperm travels down the silk and fertilizes the egg on the ear. The fertilized egg on the ear develops into a kernel of corn.

Even if the growing season was perfect up until pollination, if pollination does not go well yields will suffer. You do not want moisture stress during pollination or high temperatures and low humidity. This can kill the sperm before it fertilizes the egg. If you look on the corn leaf underneath the silks you will see a small brownish speck about a quarter-inch long. That is the pollen that was shed from the tassel. This year we have had plenty of rain and now very favorable temperatures for pollination!


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