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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Corn Standing Tall Despite Severe Weather

July 18, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Despite severe weather that has been sweeping across Ohio bringing tornadoes and flooding, much of the state's corn crop has withstood the wrath of Mother Nature.


According to the Ohio Agricultural Statistics Service, over 90 percent of the crop is rated in fair to excellent condition.

"The crop looks very good," said Peter Thomison, an Ohio State University Extension agronomist. "We are reaching a point in the growing season where if we were to go through a dry period, as long as it wasn't severe, we might be able to cruise our way into grain fill with the good root systems and the moisture that we have right now."

The story this year is localized damage, with some fields knocked down from flooding and wind damage.

"The good news is that if some of this corn is not tasseling yet, it could bounce back. The plant has a set of nodal roots above ground and those nodal roots can resurrect the plants," said Thomison, who also holds a partial Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center research appointment.

Early planted corn, those plants in the ground in April, is tasseling and silking -- the beginning stages of pollination that leads to ear development and grain fill. "That probably accounts for about 50 percent to 60 percent of the corn at this point," said Thomison.

Favorable conditions may be on the side of the corn crop, but its stages of development are "all over the board," said Thomison, which could pose some challenges for growers later in the season.

"We have early planted corn that is tasseling and silking. We have some corn planted later that is right behind it and we have replanted corn -- some that is knee-high, some that is chest-high, and it's going to be tasseling in early August," said Thomison. "We even see these varying stages of development within the same field, referred to as tall corn/short corn syndrome."

The lack of uniform development may put the shorter corn at a competitive disadvantage with the taller, more advanced corn plants.

"The worst case scenario will be that some of the shorter corn won't form an ear," said Thomison. "Additionally, the corn further along in development will be drier at harvest, which will pose some problems with growers trying to figure out which moisture level the crop is at."

The variability of the corn crop is not unusual during any given growing season. Despite it being pronounced in some areas of the state this year, Thomison expects the crop to weather the challenges well.

"We don't want growers to give up hope in some of these fields. Corn is a very resilient crop. It's remarkable what it can do."


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Candace Pollock
Peter Thomison