The crop has had enough stress, right? Unfortunately, Mother Nature is relentless and corn pollination is one of the most vulnerable times of the year.
If you planted late and haven’t pollinated yet, keep an eye on the forecast and your fields. If you have pollinated, and did so in less-than-perfect conditions, understand what could be happening to the crop.
“If a corn plant is under stress during pollination—either from lack of water or excessive heat—it’s first defense is to shut down and not produce the sugars necessary to fill our ears or kernels,” according to a news release from Planalytics, a weather forecasting service.
Over the next two weeks Corn Belt farmers should anticipate daytime high temperatures in a ‘safe’ range for corn. Planalytics anticipates highs will average in the mid 80s with overnight lows warmer than normal, but not much above 70 degrees F. However, the Corn Belt will be dry, with only the northernmost areas likely to receive precipitation.
What does this mean for corn?
Fortunately, the temperature doesn’t seem to be a threat for corn pollinating in the next two weeks. Pollination is hurt when temperatures exceed 95 degrees as it dries out the silks and kills pollen.
Unfortunately, dry weather could spell disaster in some areas. Dry silks and tassels don’t pollinate well. According to Planalytics, moisture stress during pollination can reduce yield up to 8% in a single day. This occurs because tassels and silks don’t fully emerge without moisture and tassels can begin to shed pollen before silks are fully emerged. Corn plants need, on average, 1/3” of water daily during flowering.
Take a look at the maps to see where temperatures and rainfall could damage corn crops.