Bob Nielsen

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Delayed maturity of corn due to late planting or simply cool growing seasons often translates into delayed or slow drydown of mature corn grain prior to harvest and, consequently, higher than desired grain moisture contents at harvest. Wetter grain at harvest increases the need for artificially drying the grain after harvest which, in turn, increases the growers’ production costs and can delay the progress of harvest itself.








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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.


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The other day, one of the patrons of Rudy’s Bar and Grill walks in with an ear of corn that exhibited long, flowing locks of blonde silks tumbling down the sides of the husk leaves and asked two questions: “Why are the silks so long?” and “Do such long silks bode ill for the success of corn pollination?”


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– Corn produces individual male and female flowers on the same plant.
– The ear represents the female flower of the corn plant.
– Severe soil moisture deficits can delay silk emergence and disrupt the synchrony of pollen shed and silk availability, resulting in poor kernel set.