Tuesday, August 6, 2013

From a Kernel to a Chip: July Update

In my last From a Kernel to a Chip update, I said we started off with a wet spring and then went to a dry summer. That was true until the middle of July when things started to cool off and we started seeing rain again! The cooler weather was definitely welcomed as the corn began pollinating. Sometimes, like last summer, when it is too hot and does not cool down during the night it can lead to kernels being aborted and an ear of corn not filling out completely. Thankfully it looks like most of the corn has pollinated well this year.

As I mentioned earlier, the beginning of July started off warm and dry. That meant the pivots were running full bore and irrigating seemed like a never ending job. Right after the fourth of July it felt like we almost couldn't keep up due to it being so dry and hot. While we were fortunate to not have too many breakdowns, we did run into a couple stuck pivots. Trying to get a pivot out that is in corn is not fun, especially when it is hot and humid. Unfortunately though, we can't let the pivot be stuck too long or otherwise we would have gotten behind and stressed the corn. However, by the end of July we started getting much needed rain, which allowed us to turn the wells off for a few days. It also helped out the dryland corn. However, some of the dryland corn ended up burning up because it didn't get rain earlier in July.

So far all of our irrigated white corn looks good and we were fortunate to miss bad weather that crossed South Central Nebraska the last week of July. If we can continue to get rain and have decent temperatures, we should end up having a decent crop this year! Only mother nature knows what will be in store for August, and right now it looks like we are going to be seeing cooler temps with a chance of rain almost everyday! So time will tell!

Below are pictures of the white corn during July:

Tassels are just starting to shoot out of the corn. Within a couple of days, all of the tassels popped out of the corn.
In June I showed/talked about creating a ridge in the corn so that water can flow down it. Here is an example of that. We use furrow irrigation on pivot corners or fields where a pivot doesn't work the best.This involves laying out pipe on the headland an then opening up gates to let the water flow out into the rows.
What an ear of corn looks like before the pollination process begins. In order for kernels of corn to develop the pollen must fall on the white silks, which then leads to the development of a kernel.

Once the pollination process has been completed the silks will turn from white to a purple/brown color.
Once pollen has fallen on the silk, it creates the kernels. This is actually called the "blister" stage because the ear of corn looks like it has blisters but is actually the beginning stages of kernel development.
What I usually saw after an evening of irrigating. You just can't beat Nebraska summer sunsets!
Be sure to check back on September 3rd for the next "From a Kernel to a Chip" blog!

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