Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, Plant and Soil Sciences
More strange things are being reported in the corn crop this year. Last week, a producer called to say he was checking ears and the kernels were falling off of the cob. Even stranger, the kernels looked deep, the cob appeared to be of decent quality, but when he pulled back the husks, many of the kernels simply fell off the cob. When these ears hit the snout of the corn head, the kernels simply shattered off of the cob and onto the ground. In a year when high heat and low rains late reduced yield, loosing kernels to the soil is adding insult to injury.
We suspect this to be a late-season stress occurring at or close to blacklayer (physiological maturity). The shattering kernels may be a result of both environment and genetics.
So, if you have seen shattering kernels this year, please send me an email letting me know the name of the hybrid, the field location (nearest town), soil type and as much management information as you know. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.