The Crop Watch '14 field has been adding about two full leaves per week over the last couple of weeks. Once it began to warm up a bit and the crop took off, it went from the two-leaf stage to the four-leaf stage, and now the six-to seven-leaf stage fairly quickly. Lagging behind are a few yellowish spots in saturated soils. But the majority of the field is green and growing.
We split open a stalk to find the growing point and immature parts of the plant inside. Dave Nanda, Director of Genetics and Technology for Seed Consultants, Inc., says that once the growing point is above ground, plants are no longer protected from severe damage, like hail. However, the plant is also making key decisions. The growing point will control growth of the plant until it reaches the tassel stage of growth later in the season.
Crop Watch 6/13: Don't be Alarmed by Stripes on Corn Leaves Early in the Season
Nanda describes more about the wonder of how the corn plant develops in upcoming issues in the Indiana Prairie Farmer magazine.
By this time, decisions have or are being made about such key factors as number of rows of kernels around the ear in the Crop Watch field. While Nanda says it is strongly tied to genetics, it can also be influenced by environment.
In this case, the signal should be "green light ahead" for most of the field. The few areas where corn is shorter and somewhat yellow may get a different signal. Rain again during this week is not helping the situation.
Crop Watch 6/16: Once-Ponded Plants Still Alive One Week Later
This field, like many others, needs sunshine and warmer weather so it can dry out and corn can grow. Remember that corn grows up to 86 degrees in the growing degree days formula. The temperature has yet to reach 86 degrees officially where the field is located yet this season.