2012 corn crop holds onto some potential
Joe Lauer Extension Corn Agronomist
Department of Agronomy
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
3:04 – Total Time
0:16 – Next phase of corn development
0:52 – kernel development
1:25 – Conditions that favor kernel development
2:07 – Potential yield recovery
2:29 – End of season forecast
2:55 – Lead out
The next phases of corn development in this drought season. We’re visiting today with Joe Lauer, Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin-Extension, in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, WI and I’m Sevie Kenyon.
Sevie Kenyon: Joe, give us a sense of what comes next?
Joe Lauer: Well, we’re just finishing up the corn pollination phase and that usually ends up somewhere between July 20th and August 1st. The ovial on the cob has been fertilized and the kernels start developing. The first 7-10 days the most important thing that goes on within that ovial, or that kernel, is cell division. If there’s stress during this time, the way it’s usually expressed later, is that you end up with very light test weight corn. So, this first 7-10 days really sets up the potential size of the kernel.
Sevie Kenyon: What takes place in those 7 days?
Joe Lauer: What the plant is trying to do during this time is just get as many cells in the endosperm as possible. As that cell division is completed, photosynthate, then, from the leaves moves from the leaves to those kernels. But if there’s no cells there for that photosynthate to be deposited then there’s kind of a feedback that occurs that slows down the photosynthesis process of the plant.
Sevie Kenyon: And looking ahead, what kinds of conditions will favor good kernel development?
Joe Lauer: Ideally, what we like to see is cool nights, temperatures during the day between 50 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, because that maximizes the photosynthesis process of the plant. And then an inch of rain a week and we need that rain because the water and the soil profile has basically been mined by the plant over the last 7-8 weeks. But cool nights are actually good because it lowers the respiration. A lot of these processes are driven by temperature and the temperatures between 50 and 86 degrees actually favor corn development.
Sevie Kenyon: Joe, what’s the potential for some kind of recovery in yield with favorable conditions?
Joe Lauer: It’s kind of a luck of the draw as to when some of these stresses occur during the growing season, so it remains to be seen yet. I think, like I said, there’s not a lot that can be done other than watch your fields closely and there are some decisions that can be made if you have varying degrees of success of pollination.
Sevie Kenyon: Joe, I know you’ve got a really good crystal ball. What do you see at the end of the season?
Joe Lauer: Even in years where we’ve had dramatic drought, Wisconsin was still able to produce about 70% of the corn that it normally does. There’s no question that we’ve hurt our yields this year, there’s a lot of fields that didn’t have successful pollination. If we got rains, weekly rains, and we have temperatures that are in this 50-86 degree range, you know, we can end up with a very good crop yet.
Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Joe Lauer, University of Wisconsin-Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, WI and I’m Sevie Kenyon.