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STAND-STILL: Corn stops growing as temperatures rise

July 7, 2012

Post & Mail photo / Nicole Ott: Many cornfields, like this one on CR 250 W. south of 400 N. are surrounded by dead grass and cracked ground. According to the Extension Office, corn is typically at shoulder-height at this time of the year. Corn in this field only stands a few feet tall.

COLUMBIA CITY — While corn is usually shoulder high by this time of year, record hot temperatures and little rain have caused it to come to a stand still.
“The heat takes a toll on it more than the sunlight,” said Whitley County Purdue Extension Educator David Addison. “When temperatures are above 90 degrees it stops growing, and it won’t start growing until the temperature goes down.”
Although Addison said he has seen everything from knee high to shoulder high corn stalks, the drought combining with the extreme heat does not make for a good pair.
“The last time we had a drought like this was probably in 1988,” said Addison. “Even last year was dry, but you would probably have to go back that far to see the same thing we are seeing now,” Addison said.
According to Addison, the difference in the height of the corn stalk is most likely due to the time the farmer planted.
Many farmers planted in April with the harvest expected around September and October.
While a few farmers have taken great steps to irrigate fields, Addison said it is not as beneficial to the corn as the rain.
Addison also said the county is down more than eight inches of rain for the year so far, and it will take much more than the three quarters of an inch received last week to replenish the county.


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