While an ear of corn will fill out with kernels in the best-case scenario, several features can be an early red flag that problems lie ahead.
"Ideal situation, we’re going to pollinate the butt to the tip," says Farm Journal field agronomist Ken Ferrie in Corn College TV Season 3. "We’re going to have that happen in three days, five days on the outside. You can see this. We’ve got nice pollination going up, and then we start getting in trouble here at the end as we really got hot and dry, hard to push out its silk, and we have a white-colored tip.
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Color patterns of white, gradual white to the top of an ear or a cream-colored shade are good signs that proper ear development is occurring.
"But if you see a bright yellow color and then it turns white, that’s about it," he says. "Trying to save kernels beyond that, they’re going to abort within a matter of a few days after this gets to mid-dough stage."
Learn more in Episode 1 of Corn College TV Season 3: