During the last 2 weeks, the appearance of many cornfields has begun to deteriorate, and many plants are now 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 by about July 19, which means theoretically, the average corn plant should reach physiological maturity by about September 14. We are well ahead of that pace for a number of reasons, but regardless of the reason, when corn plants don't live for the full season, they don't achieve maximum potential yields. Even though the kernels on prematurely dead plants display a black layer, the lack of kernel plumpness indicates they reached this stage too soon.
Iowa State University
Munkvold, Gary P., "Corn plants dying prematurely" (1998). Integrated Crop Management News. 2248.
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