July 1st Update
This field of corn is now about 6’ tall. It started to tassel yesterday. There are only a few ears that show silks today, but likely by tomorrow most will show their silks. Over the next several days the corn will pollinate. Each corn kernel has a silk attached to it. The silks are like a straw that the pollen will travel down to the individual kernels. I’ve attached a picture of the miniature ear of corn with all the silks surrounding it.
A forecast of not too hot of temperatures and some rain would be just what the doctor ordered while the corn is pollinating. It looks like we’re going to have moderate temperatures, but not much rain in the forecast. However, we’ve had nice rains the past few weeks, so hopefully there will be enough subsoil moisture.
June 25th Update
On June 18th, the corn was just a little taller than my 4 year old MessMaker. One week later, it was a couple feet taller than he is. We continue to have nearly ideal conditions for the weather. What are nearly ideal weather conditions? We’ve had rain every few days, not too hot of daytime temperatures, and heavy dew in the morning. It feels a little steamy outside, but that’s what corn plants love.
Setting potential – Over the past few weeks, the corn has been setting its maximum potential. The plant determines the maximum number of kernels around the cob and longest length that the ear can achieve.
What’s next? In the next week or so, this corn will start to tassel and then pollinate the corn kernels. After pollination, we’ll start to scout the fields to estimate yields. Since each plant established their maximum yield over the past few weeks, whatever kernels are on each ear will try to pollinate, then we’ll have good idea of what the best possible yield could be. However, things are still in Mother Nature’s hands. First, if we have too hot of weather during pollination, then we won’t get a good fill on the cobs. Second, any stresses after pollination, such as, too hot or dry conditions will cause the ears to start to abort kernels at the tip of the cob. The corn does best around 86 degrees.
Try this – Sweet corn is very close to our field corn. Next time you eat sweet corn, start at the bottom and notice how if you count the kernels around you will come out with an even number. Then look up the ear towards the tip, if there are kernels at the tip that aren’t as plump, that means that the crop endured some sort of stress and the corn plant aborted those kernels.
Until next week – check out a couple other blogs who are also doing Project #WatchThemGrow.