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Corn Pollination 101

December 27, 2010
By: Margy Eckelkamp, Director of Content Development, Machinery Pete

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Ensuring your corn crop is being pollinated uniformly and timely is key to maximizing corn yields as described in episode 9 of Corn College TV.

“Pollination is a crucial time,” says Farm Journal Field Agronomist Missy Bauer. “If your crop doesn’t get pollinated we miss the boat on yield. You need to pay attention at pollination, and go out scouting.”

It’s an easy time to know when to head out into the field–when tassels appears that is your trigger. Once you’re in the field, the simple shake test will tell you how the crop is pollinating.

episode9 headtothefieldpollination“Pull sample ears off and slice open the side of the husk,” Bauer says. “Pull back the husk without ripping off the silks.”

What you are after is to see how many silks are still attached to the ear.

“Once it’s peeled off, shake it a little bit and see how many silks stay attached to the developing ear. If there are still attached, those still need to be pollinated,” Bauer says.  

When scouting for silk clippers, you’ll want to know how much is pollinated and if silks are still present in the field. Bauer says an ear needs at least ½” of silk to get pollinated.

For more information about pollination and the yield penalties is a crop is not uniformly and timed right in pollination, watch episode 9 of Corn College TV. 

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