Agronomist explains the cause of smaller corn ears

Some Wisconsin corn growers are reporting smaller corn ears this year.  Agronomist Bob Berkevich from Pioneer tells Brownfield in southeastern Wisconsin, there were several reports of tip back starting after pollination in August. “Tip back was likely caused by some higher plant counts because of really good emergence, maybe some dry weather, and also, it seems like a lack of solar radiation after pollination are some of the reasons why we’ve got some smaller ears out there.”

Berkevich tells Brownfield weather improved after pollination, leading to good water and nutrient uptake during grain fill, but some plants are loaded with energy and have no place to put it because of the smaller ears. “Nutrient levels within the plant are high and the pipes are full. Sometimes, evidence of that will be purple stalks or some purple husks indicating that carbohydrate production is more than what the ear needs on that particular plant.”

Overall, Berkevich says harvest is going well in southeastern Wisconsin, and his client’s yield monitors are ranging from 220 to 250 bushels per acre with a few small patches spiking above 300.

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