Q: Can other stresses cause this abnormality?
- The symptoms have not been linked to other stress factors such as nutrient deficiencies or herbicide injury. However, roots that are severely injured pre-tassel in combination with drought or high heat has resulted in similar symptoms.1
Q: Can yield or grain quality be reduced?
- When these symptoms are observed, the major cause for any yield reduction is likely a direct result of the drought and high heat conditions. Some yield loss can occur when the exposed kernels are fed upon by birds and insects or damaged by unfavorable weather.
- Overall grain quality can be reduced if mold develops on the exposed kernels and/or the kernels are damaged by insects or birds.
Q: Can symptoms be reduced?
- No management techniques are available during the growing season to help reduce the symptoms.
Q: What can be done prior to planting to help reduce the potential for symptom development?
- Select seed products that have higher ratings for drought tolerance.
- Plant seed products with different relative maturities to help stagger corn development. By doing so, pollination and husk and ear development may occur during a more favorable environment for some of the products.
- Employ techniques to reduce the potential for compaction and/or utilize tillage to break up compaction to reduce root stress.
- If available, timely irrigation can help reduce the impact of drought.
Q: Can the symptoms be observed during favorable growing conditions?
- Some seed products have a genetic potential to extend the cob beyond the husks. Additionally, even under very good pre-tassel conditions, rainfall soon after pollination can cause the cobs to produce extra length. Many times, this appears as unfilled ear tips because pollen was no longer available . The opposite can also be seen where the husks completely cover the ear and surround the ear tightly.
1Nielsen, R.L. 2018. Short husks & exposed ears. Corny News Network. The Chat ‘n Chew Café. Purdue University. http://www.kingcorn.org/.
2Elmore, R. Rees, J., McMechan, J. Jackson-Ziems, T., and Hoegemeyer, T. 2016. Corn ear formation issues likely correlated with the loss of the primary ear node. CropWatch. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. https://cropwatch.unl.edu/.
Website verified 11/8/19