Monday, October 7, 2013

Back in Black

A lot of chatter last week about black layer in corn.  It seems everyone is out looking. Some are finding black layer and others have not.  Is this a cause for worry?
No.  This kernel is from a 3000 HU hybrid and is displaying a distinct black layer.  Fuller season corn hybrids may not be showing a visual black layer, but they are finished the grain fill process.
This is a 3100 HU hybrid on the left beside the 3000 HU kernel on the right.  There is no moisture left at the base of the later kernel.  It just takes a few days for the black layer to visually appear
If you pick the right kernel you can see the early formation of a black layer which some confuse with brown layer.  The take home message is this corn crop is complete from a dry matter accumulation point of view.

Grain moisture is a different matter.  Healthy corn is anywhere from 28%-35% moisture. Dry down is now a function of heat and humidity.  Fifty heat units will take 1 point of moisture out of a kernel that is over 25%. After 25% it takes 75 heat units to drop 1 point of moisture because drier kernels take more heat to remove moisture. With three weeks left in October corn will be 25%-31% by the end of the month.  Remember, this is healthy corn.  There are already reports of corn at 25% moisture.  Corn this dry died a month ago due to northern leaf blight infection and while it may be dry, yield and test weight will be poor.

A customer also asked last week about ordering seed corn with no Cruiser or Poncho insecticide.  His field is beside a bee yard and the bee owner has concerns about his bees dying from neonicotinoid poisoning next spring at corn planting time.
The issue of bee mortality is very complicated and even bee keepers do not agree on the causes.  However, if the bee owner is concerned with the use of neonic insecticides there are options.  Pioneer has committed to providing neonicotinoid free seed for 2014 spring on specific hybrids. The list of hybrids available are popular hybrids over a range of maturity and include the following three which fit our area.

The important point is if you want to keep your bee neighbours happy and enjoy their honey I need to know.
There is a deadline of October 15  for these orders to be processed because the majority of the seed supply will still be treated with neonicotinoid insecticide.

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