During the last 2 weeks, the appearance of many cornfields has begun to deteriorate; plants in some fields are dead. Although we expect plants to be maturing about this time of year, clearly some plants are dying early. Statewide, we reached 50 percent silking about July 22, which means theoretically, the "average" corn plant should reach physiological maturity about September 17. In some areas, the crop will be mature prior to its expected maturity date. When corn plants don't live for the full season, they do not achieve maximum potential yields. Even though the kernels on prematurely dead plants will display a black layer, the lack of kernel plumpness indicates they reached this stage too soon.
Iowa State University
Munkvold, Gary P. and Farnham, Dale E., "Rust and other diseases are accelerating corn maturity" (1999). Integrated Crop Management News. 2153.
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