Critical Growth Stages of Corn

By Mike Zwingman

By Mike Zwingman

Consider for a moment the American teenager.  You know one.  Maybe it’s your own son or daughter, your niece or nephew, granddaughter or grandson, the kid who bags your cookies and toilet paper at the supermarket.  Consider the awesome potential inherent in each of these teens, all the remarkable things they might grow to do and be: scientists and fathers, writers, teachers, executives in corner offices, politicians, musicians, dedicated growers of the 21st century.  And consider how unlikely it is that each would reach this potential if left to their own devices.  Teenagers do, after all, have a well-deserved reputation for being sulky and sleepy and preoccupied with things that don’t really matter.  Because really, why work when it feels so good to listen to bad music and sleep into the afternoon?

This is your corn in the V4-V6 growth stages.  It is a teenager.  Hormonal.  Confused.  Uncertain.  But in possession of such enormous potential.  (An average bag of corn has about 600 bushels per acre potential inside it.) Just as teenagers left to their own direction will so often loaf and sleep, so will your corn.  But you didn’t let your teenager loaf and sleep, did you?  No way.  You gave him chores to do and fed him well and told him no when he needed to hear no and yes when he needed to hear yes.  And because of your care—your support—your teen grew into an active and productive adult.  Your teenage corn will be in need of some similar loving soon, and done correctly, as with a teenager, you can unlock its potential and grow a crop that is truly all it can be.

V6_GrowthStageCorn plants in the V4-V6 growth stages are beginning tassel development, establishing a nodal root system, and beginning a period of rapid stalk elongation.  They are also making important determinations, like ear girth.  But they are more than a little confused and stressed out by these changes.  The right moves on your part can alleviate this stress and provide the conditions necessary for your corn to become the productive crop you would like to raise and be proud of.

A V5 Plant Health Treatment (PHT) is that right move.  A V5 PHT addresses and alleviates plant stress on three platforms: it delivers to your plants a fungicide to protect against disease, a plant growth regulator to increase energy production, and micronutrients to address deficiencies and help your corn better tolerate insects, heat, and drought.

The fungicide portion of the PHT will protect your plants against both stalk and root disease, which will mitigate the loss of kernels and aid in harvestability.  Protecting against kernel loss can preserve 10-15 bushels of otherwise lost product per acre at harvest time.  Protecting against stalk and root disease will reduce stalk and root lodging at harvest and may lead to a 15-20% savings in yield loss due to ear drop and drydown costs.  Furthermore, healthy stalks and roots will increase your harvest efficiency, which reduces so many things you would like to reduce, like wear and tear on your equipment, labor, fuel costs, and frustration.Header2

The plant growth regulator portion of the PHT will increase the root activity and leaf area index of your plants.  More roots means that plants take in water and nutrients more efficiently.  More leaf area makes for an increase in photosynthetic activity and sugar production, which means that plants have the increased energy to grow bigger.  The plant growth regulator portion additionally spurs cell division and elongation, both of which support a greater total kernel number during ear development stages.

Last, but of course not least, the micronutrient portion of the PHT helps to alleviate stress due to nutrient deficiencies.  Plants wasting energy dealing with nutrient deficiencies fight diseases and insects poorly and are susceptible to heat and drought.  By addressing any nutrient deficiencies for your plants, you are freeing them to put their all-important energy into producing the highest kernel number possible.