A Must Read on Corn Yields
May 29, 2012
Corn "bulls" are still reeling from a $0.70 cent plus break in July corn basis and prices last week, which pushed the July contract to its lowest levels since Dec 2010. As the weather patterns find it difficult to agree, the funds have been fleeing the "old crop" corn market. There is some concern now in "new crop" that the hot, dry conditions could start to affect the overall "ear" size. We are hearing that the corn in several areas is at a stage that is critical in determining overall "ear" or "cob" size. The fear is if the ears are stunted to any degree the crop will be left to depend on excellent kernel depth and filling. The bottom-line is stress in the crop just prior to pollination can almost assuredly lock in less than anticipated yields. Producers know this, but it will be interesting to see if the trade wants to take on any more long side exposure with so much uncertainty in the Macro markets.
Please Read: This information was released by the Agronomy Department at Purdue University this weekend, written by R.L. (Bob) Nielsen. For the entire story click here: Hot & Dry; More of the Same Not Good for Corn Yield
...Much of the state's crop has reached the V5 leaf stage of development (5 visible leaf collars) or has progressed beyond this stage. The uppermost, harvestable ear is initiated by the apical meristem of corn at about V5. The potential number of kernel rows per ear is determined by roughly leaf stage V7 (six to eight days after V5). Potential kernel row number is strongly determined by a hybrid's genetic background and is fairly resilient to the effects of stress. However, severe stress that occurs within the small window of time from V5 to V7 can indeed restrict kernel row number determination and is certainly a risk this year for crops under severe drought stress during those leaf stages.
Number of potential kernels per row on an ear is less of a genetic characteristic and much more influenced by growing conditions. This component of ear size determination is not complete until the V12 to V15 stages of leaf development and, thus, is vulnerable to potential stress over a longer period of time than is kernel row number determination. Consequently, severe and/or prolonged stress of any kind during this time period can restrict the potential length of the ears (i.e., fewer potential kernels per row).
While not actually a yield component, potential plant size is also largely determined during the vegetative period of growth prior to pollination. Severe stress of any kind during the rapid growth phase can result in shorter, smaller plants for the remainder of the season. Severely stressed plants also cannibalize lower leaves in an effort to remobilize nutrients to maintain the health of the upper canopy. The resulting smaller, less productive photosynthetic "factory" will be less capable of producing the photosynthate required during the important grain filling period after pollination and, thus, kernel weight may suffer even if conditions improve late in the season.
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