Corn growth stunted by continued drought

Published: Jun. 14, 2023 at 4:26 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25News Now) - Corn this time of year, under ideal conditions, should have dark green leaves and be about waist-high.

You may notice in some fields that’s not the case because corn is growing slower with the lack of rain.

To preserve moisture and protect themselves against the hot sun, corn plants will curl inward during the daytime as a defensive mechanism, but this will only protect them for so long. However, there is at least one positive to having drier conditions earlier in the growing season.

Patrick Kirchhofer, manager from the Peoria County Farm Bureau, said, “It does help the roots, especially on corn plants, grow deeper into the soil profile, where they’ll access moisture. And this does allow for a more stable corn plant later on in the growing season.”

Having that firm foundation and deeper roots help prevent the corn from uprooting and leaning over later in the season. This makes it easier for harvest and leaves fewer ears of corn behind for maximum yield.

It’s still critical we get rain soon. Now is the time each corn stalk determines the number of kernels around the ear and the length of it. The rest of the growing season depends on how large those kernels grow and whether that corn plant aborts kernels because it’s too dry.