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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Assessing this year's corn crop

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

This growing season has not been easy for farmers.

They were lucky enough to get into the fields a few weeks early, however that has turned out to not be the best scenario.

That early planting has then meant that fields are about three weeks ahead in growth stage compared to a typical year.

Research has indicated that Indiana corn yields are significantly related to July precipitation and July and August temperatures.

Due to the early planting this year, that time span would match to the last half of June and July.

The reason behind the last half of June and July being so important this year is because of pollination.

If the corn plant is not pollinated, yields will be drastically cut.

Optimum growing conditions for corn involve average temperatures between 68 and 73-degrees Fahrenheit and on average .25 inches of water a day (up to .35 inches during pollination).

The pollination window for corn is only seven days long with the most critical portion being around day four and five.

It is estimated that for most of Central Indiana, the pollination window will be closing about July 10th.

Due to the bad conditions we are experiencing, it is a good idea for farmers to take a few minutes and determine how successful pollination was in their fields.

Once they have determined the success of pollination, they can decide what they want to do with that field.

To determine the success of pollination, you can do the ear shake test.

To do the ear shake test, randomly choose a few ears of corn within a field.

On each ear, make a single lengthwise cut from the base of the ear shoot to the tip with a sharp knife.

You only want to cut through the husk leaves to the cob. Slowly unwrap the husk leaves.

Try not to rip any silks from the ovules while you do this.

Finally, gently shake the ear.

Silks that fall off the cob represent fertilized ovules; silks that stay represent unfertilized ovules.

By doing this several times throughout the field, you can estimate the success of pollination.

For a video on how to do the ear shake test, go to http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/pestcro...

Once you have determined the success of pollination in your fields, you can determine what you want to do with the field.

In some cases, you might decide to leave it alone and harvest it as normal.

In others, you might decide to use it for silage, bale it, mow it down or till it.

If you would decide to do either of these options, then you need to talk to your crop insurance agent immediately.

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