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Growing conditions conducive to brittle snap

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

Over the past week, Seed Consultants agronomists and sales staff have observed green snap brittle snap (aka green snap) in some corn fields this week. Although typically a problem observed in the western Corn Belt, brittle snap does occasionally occur in the east. As corn plants develop quickly in vegetative stages of growth, they go through a period of rapid growth during which corn stalks are brittle. As stalks elongate they become more rigid and the cell walls of stalk tissue become fragile, increase the risk of stalk breakage. Corn plants are more prone to brittle snap between V8 and tasseling, especially the 2 weeks before tasseling.

In many areas during the later stages of vegetative growth there has been plenty of rain, heat, and storms with high wind speeds. When stalks brake below the ear, no grain will be produced. When stalks break above the ear, it is still possible for them to produce grain, however, at a significantly reduced amount.

Although some hybrids are more susceptible to brittle snap than others, all are at risk during the period of rapid stalk elongation. Seed Consultants’ has ratings and plot observations for brittle snap gathered through naturally occurring storm events as well as simulated stalk stress. Growers who are concerned about brittle snap should work with their area seedsmen to choose hybrids whose stalks are less susceptible to breakage during periods of rapid growth.

For more information, check out these links:

Wind Damage in Corn – “Green Snap” and Root Lodging

Damage to Corn Plants by Strong Winds

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