When they say corn hits the grand growth phase about V8 or V9 and suddenly is almost ready to tassel in a matter of days, they're not kidding. I visited the Crop Watch'13 field twice in the last two weeks, about 11 days apart. The crop went form chest-high and about the eight- to nine-leaf stage to over my head and the V11 to V12 stage in that short time period.
Plenty of moisture and warm but not excessively warm temperatures fueled the growth spurt. Dave Nanda, Director of Genetics and Technology for Seed Consultants, Inc., says, this is the period when the plant stokes up on nutrients, turning sunlight into sugars that will be used later to fill the ear.
There has been either none or one day that hit 90 degrees so far here, depending upon who you listen to for weather information. What a difference a year makes! The weathermen on TV keep talking about 'hot,' but their memories must be shorter than mine, which isn't that precise these days. Compared to last year, this is like being in Alaska.
Well, almost – it was in the high 80s and very humid last week. But if the forecast pans out, this week should be in the low-to-mid 80s, at least for the first part of the week. Pollination in this field this year should begin with ample moisture supplies and acceptable temperatures.
One thing to keep an eye on will be nighttime lows. During the 'hot' spell last week, the temperature only reached the low 70s overnight. Corn performs best when nighttime temperatures drop into the mid-to-low 60's so plants can rest and finish storing sugars and other products manufactured through photosynthesis that day.
Right now it still looks like all systems are go for good yield in this field. Check in next week to see how things are progressing.