POSTER CHILD FROM 2012
No, this isn’t popcorn or broom corn. You could find acres like this field in 2012.
These are above-average ears from the Corn Watch field in 2012. Two of the three ears are greatly affected by aborted kernels at the tips, likely due to heat and drought stress.
Here’s an example of an ear decimated by pollination issues in 2012. Note the silks that are still attached. Corn specialist Bob Nielsen says when silks are still attached to an ear, it’s a sign they didn’t get pollinated. Either pollen was damaged or no pollen was left when these silks finally emerged.
Drought stress combined with heat stress can cause strange results. It appears this ear gave up on trying to finish the cob and produced a narrow-diameter cob to finish the job.
Pollination occurred relatively normally on half of this ear, but not on the other half. The bottom half of the ear is devoid of kernels.
WHAT GRAVEL CAN DO
There was gravel under the soil at about 3 feet in about a fourth of the 2012 Corn Watch field. This short, pineapple-like corn in that part of the field produced few ears. Reports from south-central Indiana on gravelly fields this year indicate there may be some nonirrigated fields that don’t look much different in 2019 than this field did in 2012.
ALL WAS NOT LOST
This ear, pollinated and developed to the tip, was in one of the rows pictured in the previous photo, only 500 feet away. In this part of the field, there was a thin layer of sandy, gravelly parent material laid well underneath several feed of dark, medium-textured topsoil that held moisture. Corn in this part of the field helped offset near 100% loss in the previous picture.