Seeds for Success

Kernel jumbling and poor kernel set

Insect silk clipping and feeding of pollen at VT/R1 can result in kernel jumbling (ear on left). Photo courtesy of P. Thomison, OSU.

A key piece of harvest preparation includes estimating yield. Much of the Corn Belt experienced high heat during pollination and that can have an impact on kernel set, which in turn impacts yield.

Incomplete kernel set has varying impact levels, from severe reduction with mostly cob tissue and very few distinct kernels to limited reduction with a jumbled kernel set.

Poor pollination and incomplete kernel set is caused by multiple factors, including severe drought and high temperatures, as well as inadequate pollen supply, insect feeding and silk clipping.

If this is a recurring problem, plan ahead for 2021 to avoid late post-emergent, broadcast herbicide applications, according to research and recommendations from Kansas State University and The Ohio State University.

To manage kernel set, maintain appropriate soil fertility, adjust planting depth with varying soil conditions, adhere to recommended herbicide application dates and select seeding rates consistent for soil yield potential and date of planting. Avoid planting too early in wet soils and minimize weed competition with effective herbicide applications.

Talk to your AgVenture Yield Specialist for more information.

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