You couldn't draw up the plan any better and program in the environmental conditions any more to the corn plant's liking than what the Crop Watch '14 field is seeing this week. Planted May 4, it's already tasseling, silking and pollinating.
Dave Nanda, Genetics and Technology Consultant for Seed Consultants, Inc., says corn likes slightly cool weather when it's pollinating. The key is having adequate moisture. So far, other than too much rain the first couple of weeks after planting, the Crop Watch field has received an adequate amount of rain at the right time.
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"I'm surprised it is moving along as quickly as it is," Nanda says. "If it stays on the cool side of normal, with temperatures in the low to mid-80s in the daytime and in the 60s at night, it's ideal for producing corn."
The amount of pollen already shed and on plant leaves, and still hanging from the tassels, indicates that pollen shed is well underway. Burning of pollen won't be a factor this year. It seldom is, but 2012 was so hot during pollination that some agronomists believe there may have been some effect on the pollen itself. A whammy of factors combined to result in poor to virtually no pollination in extreme cases that year.
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This year so far is the exact opposite. Last year was similar to this year to this point. The latter half of the growing season turned dry in many areas. It will be interesting to compare yields this year to what was an outstanding year for corn yields last year if the slightly cooler than normal pattern with adequate moisture continues through the rest of the summer.
Weather forecasters in the 30-day forecast are calling for normal temperatures and normal rainfall across most of Indiana. So far so good for corn yields.