MidSeason Corn Scouting Report

No matter how sophisticated and hi-tech farming becomes, nothing can replace a little “low tech” hands-on scouting. A little time spent observing plant characteristics, insect pressure and field conditions can actually help you increase yield results next season.

Two or three weeks after pollination is a critical period for kernel set. After pollination, when the silks turn brown and dry up, carefully unwrap the husk leaves and gently shake the ear. Silks from the pollinated ovules will readily drop off. Silks that don’t drop off have not been fertilized. You may also notice “fresh” long silks, which is a symptom of unsuccessful pollination.┬áIf corn did not pollinate, it’s important to determine if it is from insect problems or weather related.

This season, there was notable unevenness in pollination due to spring weather conditions and wet soils. Inspecting fields today to evaluate ear development in relation to conditions can help determine the cause of the problem and help plan on which tech traits to consider using next season. Matching traits to know growing conditions can maximize the yield potential of ever acre you plant.