It's Simple: Pollination is Crucial

CROP WATCH: All systems still in working order at the Crop Watch '13 field.

Published on: Jul 29, 2013

There may be some grass on the end rows, and a little bit here and there in the field. There are a few plants with shothole marks from corn borer. After all, there should be – 5% of the plants in the field are refuge.

But overall, the tassels and silks are out and pollination is underway. A hot and humid week ushered in the beginning of pollination for this corn, planted May 2, but pollination really kicked into gear last week, when it was much cooler and less humid. If similar weather stays – as predicted – the plants should decide that they can fill tip kernels. That alone will be worth a significant number of bushels compared to last year.

Then if moisture continues to come, the kernels shouldn't abort. As long as the plant believes it can fill all of the kernels that pollinate and produce a maximum number of seeds, it will do so.

All systems still in working order at the Crop Watch 13 field.
All systems still in working order at the Crop Watch '13 field.

Thunderstorms have become spotty, with most areas receiving some rain, but certain areas getting big totals. The key is more moisture and cooler temperatures than in the past few seasons at pollination.

Temperatures were warm some nights, but below normal over the past 10 days or so, more often than not. Corn prefers about 65 degrees at night so that it can store up what was produced form photosynthesis during the day. When temperatures stay in the '70s or higher at night, some of the sugars are lost to extra respiration due to the heat. Nighttime lows in the '50s may not be ideal to promote development, but they're likely better for yield potential than too many nights in the low '70s.

Pollination underway: So far so good for pollination. Despite a hot few days, it appears pollination will occur relatively normally this year. Hopefully poor tip fill from last year wont repeat itself.
Pollination underway: So far so good for pollination. Despite a hot few days, it appears pollination will occur relatively normally this year. Hopefully poor tip fill from last year won't repeat itself.

Start to prepare your guess on yield. We'll provide more details that help this come into focus, including some hand yield checks, in the near future. Stay tuned and prepare to win seed for next year from Seed Consultants, Inc.