Heat Wave Too Late to Do Heavy Damage to Corn

 

Since March, Dr. Ron Heiniger, NC State Extension Corn Specialist has said we have a promising corn crop.  With planting dates all over the board, some of the crop is at a vulnerable stage with this week’s heat wave:

“Every farmer I’ve talked to has said he wanted one more rain, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime soon, the forecast doesn’t show much promise right now.”

As is usually the case, the damage from heat is going to depend on when it was planted:

“We had corn planted in March, we had corn planted in May, we even had double-crop corn planted in June.  The corn that was planted before the first of May isn’t going to get much damage, quite frankly, looking at that corn, most of it is at dent stage, well corn at dent stage is literally about done.  All it needs is what nutrients it’s got in the stalk, or what carbohydrates it can transfer into the grain, it really doesn’t need much photosynthesis.  So, that corn isn’t going to take much damage despite the heat.

Now corn that isn’t at the dent stage is still in the process of trying to build starch into those kernels, why that corn planted in say, early May, that corn is going to take some damage in the form of smaller kernels, lower kernel weight  that’s going to hurt yields to some extent, just depending on how fast this corn is going to dry out and how fast this corn changes.”

And there was some fields that were planted after mid-May:

“Then finally, corn that was planted beyond the middle of May, some of that isn’t quite through silking, or is into silking, that’s going to take sever damage there.  In fact, the double-crop corn that was planted into June is just now trying to get into the V-7 to V-10 stage so that corn is going to at least get set back, but my come out of it, if we get some relief and rain.  So, you see the spectrum that we’re trying to work with.”

So, with that being said, and looking at the big picture, how damaged is the corn crop:

“Well, I’ll be quite frank, I’ve been across the state, and I really think this heat wave is going to have a minimal impact on our total corn crop.  I know that sounds just bizarre, given the magnitude of this hear and dryness.  But, most of this corn crop is made, it really is past the critical stages, and even that that’s not quite at dent stage, there’s going to be enough moisture to get it there without severe kernel weight losses.  So, most of this corn is made, I really think this heat wave really came too late to hurt this corn too bad.”

NC State Extension Corn Specialist Dr. Ron Heiniger.


A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.

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