Every day the crop is growing is an important one. However, many farmers are already at – or quickly approaching – one of the most important parts of the season, according to Alex Johnson, sales agronomist with LG Seeds.
"Pollination is the most important growth stage after stand establishment," he says.
Although weather plays an enormous role in successful pollination, Johnson says there are four other areas where farmers can take charge to ensure the best potential results.
1. Product selection – spread the risk by spreading out the expected pollination window by selecting hybrids that have different maturities.
2. Fertility – nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus, are extremely critical from VT through black layer at R6. Make sure your plants are well-fed during this period, Johnson says.
3. Insects – insects such as Japanese beetles and corn rootworm adult beetles can clip silks and hurt pollination.
4. Scouting – this will keep you focused on your crop’s needs during pollination, whether it is monitoring for insects, foliar disease pressure or any other midseason problems.
As for the weather, the cooling trend expected for the week of July 14 might prove very positive for corn pollination, according to Chris Anderson, the assistant director of Iowa State University's Climate Science Program.
"Cool conditions through pollination means all of the kernels will pollinate," he says. "The No. 1 yield killer from high heat is inability to pollinate. The second yield killer is kernel rejection due to lack of water to keep up with water demand caused by heat."
For additional information on corn pollination essentials, visit http://www.lgseeds.com/content/corn-pollination-essentials
Want more? AgWeb readers are sharing fresh crop production insights every day. Click here to join the conversation, or to start your own.