Bob Nielsen

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In the latest Purdue Crop Chat Podcast, Extension Corn Specialist Bob Nielsen and Extension Soybean Specialist Shaun Casteel discuss early yield numbers that they’re hearing from farmers and getting on their own research trials. They also discuss their expectations of the October 9 USDA Crop Report. The Purdue Crop Chat Podcast is presented by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and the Indiana Soybean Alliance.






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Droopy ears are cute on certain breeds of dogs, but droopy ears on corn plants prior to physiological maturity are a signal that grain fill has slowed or halted. Ears of corn normally remain erect until some time after physiological maturity (black layer development) has occurred, after which the ear shanks eventually collapse and the ears decline or “droop” down. The normal declination of the ears AFTER maturity is desirable from the perspective of shedding rainfall prior to harvest and avoiding the re-wetting of the kernels. PREMATURE ear declination, however, results in premature black layer formation, lightweight grain, and ultimately lower grain yield per acre.





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The grain fill period begins with successful pollination and initiation of kernel development, and ends approximately 60 days later when the kernels are physiologically mature. During grain fill, the developing kernels are the primary sink for concurrent photosynthate produced by the corn plant. What this means is that the photosynthate demands of the developing kernels will take precedence over that of much of the rest of the plant.