Are we going to make it?

We are finally getting summer temperatures but is it too late for this years corn crop? CHU accumulation is behind by approx. 250 CHU if planted in April and even more if you had later planted corn. Generally we need 45 – 60 days to reach black layer for corn (physilogical maturity) after it has tasseled. This being August 9th and many fields are just starting to tassel we would need until October 1 – 15 without frost. Here we are agian like last year saying we need a really good September to finish the crop. Is your corn going to make it?


4 Responses

  1. The temp swings a night are also causing concern. A 10 degree celcius change in temp can cause a corn plant to stop metabolising for 4 to 8 hrs which is lost maturing time.
    The corn crop seems to be further advanced in the tobacco belt than in many parts of Ontario including Essex.

    • Good point, Keith. As we move later into the fall this becomes even more of an issue when it takes until mid-day for the corn plant to start up again after a night chill

  2. Something else to consider as corn fields finish pollinating (e.g. typically takes 4-5 days for an ear to pollinate), kernel abortion prior to R2 (Blister) can occur due to stresses. They may include drought stress (not likely this year!), heat stress, severe nutrient deficiencies (especially nitrogen “firing” – bottom leaves already turning yellowish-brown at the tips and down the centers; this could be caused by lack of nitrogen, as some growers cut back on fertilizer N this year due to relatively high prices; it could also be caused by poor roots due to compaction issues; or it could be caused by drainage problems), extensive loss of green leaf tissue (leaf diseases such as Northern Corn Leaf Blight, Rust, Gray Leaf Spot, or Anthracnose), or consecutive days of heavily overcast, cloudy conditions. Keep this in mind as we progress to harvest when setting yield expectations.

    Dean Shantz

    • Deb Campbell made the point that we need approx. 30% more heat units for the rest of August and September to catch up on CHU. Environment Canada and the Almanac all point to lower temperatures than normal. I don’t think we are going to make it. It looks like light test weight and wet corn at harvest with disease concerns (stalk rots, ear rots).

      Is corn all CHU or can it compensate or adjust to the environment? It appears that the corn although primarily driven by heat also responds to day length and speeds up if required. Maybe the corn plant is smarter than we think and will make sure it produces some offspring no matter what the conditions.

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