By Brian Essinger, Monsanto Territory Manager, N. Ohio
Here is a phenomenon, zipper ears, that we are going to see more often this year. It is caused by a variety of reasons, all environmental stresses during pollination, and not hybrid/germplasm related.
Most is caused by high heat or lack of moisture during pollination. But delayed pollination, nitrogen deficiency, and defoliation after pollination (hail) can cause it as well. Remember the bottom side of the ear is last to pollinate so that is why you find it there.
Here is a related article from Bob Nielsen, with Purdue University Extension.
The process of estimating yield potential in corn fields prior to grain harvest includes an assessment of the success of “kernel set” on the ears. Poor tip fill on ears, resulting from a combination of pollination failure and kernel abortion, is not uncommon in fields where severe crop stress has occurred during pollination or in the early weeks following pollination.… Continue readingRead More »