Cropside: High yields: cause for a closer look at corn

AGRONOMIC INFORMATION FROM ONTARIO'S CROP SPECIALISTS

Greg Stewart, Corn Specialist, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

A BREAKDOWN OF CORN PLANT WEIGHT

  • The tassel and leaf sheaths (the part that attaches the leaf blade to the stalk) make up about six percent of the total corn plant final dry weight.
  • Corn plant leaves normally represent 10 percent of the corn plant total dry weight.
  • If you add up the dry weight of the cob, husks and shank it arrives at 13 percent.

  • Traditionally the grain has represented 50 percent of the whole plant weight. More recently, in high yielding situations both in 2010 and 2011, grain is making up 54 to 58 percent of the plant weight.
  • Kernel dry weight varies, but averages  around 0.25 grams per kernel; however the kernels from this field near Hickson, Ontario weighed in at 0.31 grams (zero percent moisture) or 0.367 grams at 15.5 percent moisture.

  • The seven corn plants pictured here are at a final plant population of 30,500 plants per acre; average number of kernels per ear was 546. With the larger kernels and improved harvest index yield is 240 bushels per acre.
  • The stalk normally represents 21 percent of the plant’s weight. •
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Corn Specialist, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs