By Pierce Paul and Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension
We have received several reports of premature corn kernel sprouting across Ohio. The ear in the picture exhibiting premature sprouting was sampled from one of the Ohio Corn Performance Test plots at the NW Research Station and was associated Trichoderma ear rot. In this particular case, the fungus that causes the ear rot produces compounds that stimulates early germination. However, not all ear rots are commonly associated with premature sprouting. In fact, under the right set of conditions, this phenomenon may occur in perfectly healthy ears, without visual disease symptoms. In addition to ear rots, a combination of other factors, including erect ears, bird damage, and wet weather, may contribute to premature sprouting.
Premature sprouting is most likely to occur when reasonably dry kernels (less than about 20% grain moisture content) are re-wetted, especially when temperatures are warm and ear dry-down in an upright position.… Continue reading