Problems with ear development are showing up in southern Nebraska cornfields.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension educator Jenny Rees says she’s gotten numerous reports of ear formation issues across a wide stretch of the region.
Rees says it appears to be a combination of a specific genetic line of so-called “race-horse hybrids” and plant stress resulting from an early July windstorm.
“One thing that we noticed in all the fields is a loss of the primary ear and because of that, we believe that’s what then resulted in these strange ear formations that occurred,” Rees says.
Symptoms include dumbbell-shaped ears, short husks and multiple ears per node or bouquet ears.
It’s too early to determine just how much overall yields will be affected, but she thinks it will have an impact.
“There’s a lot of reports that we’re at a record corn crop, but that may not be the case for Nebraska,” she says.
There are also reports of greater-than-normal “tip back” of ears in some Nebraska fields. That means the kernels don’t fill all the way out to the end of the ear and those barren tips can reduce the yield.
By Ken Anderson, Brownfield Ag News