Minnesota corn agronomist concerned about aborted kernels

An extension corn agronomist is concerned drought stress will lead to kernel abortion.

Jeff Coulter with the University of Minnesota says a lack of moisture after pollination typically results in kernels at the tip of the ear drying out.

“I think that’s what we’re going to see a lot of this year with these warm temperatures this week (combined) with the drought stress, and any drought stress that’s going to occur over the next couple of weeks (will) result in some of those kernels at the tip of those ears being lost.”

He tells Brownfield that can have a significant impact on yield considering the major components are number of kernels and kernel size.

“Granted, the number of kernels at the tip of the ear is pretty small compared to the kernels on the rest of the ear. But if we’re losing them, that is reducing yield potential.”

Coulter suggests kernel size can swing corn yields up or down 50 bushels an acre and says that’s largely determined by weather in August and September. 

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