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Is Later Planted Corn Maturing Slower Than It Should?

Oct 18, 2019

Corn that was planted later in the season is not mature at the same time as corn that was planted on time. This is pretty straight forward. What is not as straight forward is that later planted corn is taking more growing degree days (GDDs) to mature then the maturity rating indicates.

Purdue University has been digging into why later planted corn takes more GDDs to mature. Initial research indicates that kernel black layer development occurs in response to reduced sucrose availability in later parts of the season as photosynthesis slows down in response to cooler temperatures and general late-season leaf deterioration.

Cooler temperatures that are standard for September and October tell a plant that it is time to mature before a frost kills the plant. Above average temperatures this September may have changed the plants sucrose balance and delayed black layer. In research done by Purdue University none of the hybrids in trials reached black layer by mid-to late-September as predicted by late planting adjusted GDDs.

 What does this mean? Hybrid maturity might be influenced by weather more than originally assumed, but not necessarily early-season weather. Abnormal late season weather seems to delay crop maturity and have a lasting effect on the crop.


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