Seeds absorb moisture within hours after planting and begin the germination process almost immediately. When corn seeds absorb water colder than 50°F, imbibitional chilling or cold shock may occur.

These three symptoms of cold chill may be evident at emergence, during the growing season and at harvest time:

  1. Absorbing cold water causes the cell membranes to rupture and release fluids that provide food sources for soil pathogens. These can invade developing seedlings and dramatically harm the germination.
  2. When a seed imbibes cold water, the early season vigor of young corn plants may be negatively impacted. Weak root systems with gnarled primary roots might result.
  3. Wet soils drain kernels of their energy reserves, so seedlings that struggle for a week or more to emerge may have erratic emergence and uneven growth. Many of these fields experience disappointing yields at harvest due to reduced stands and decreased seedling vigor.

Call into the Latham® office and we will get you connected with one of our agronomists. Happy Spring!