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Published 24 June 2004
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Floppy Corn & Related Symptoms

R.L. (Bob) Nielsen
Agronomy Dept., Purdue Univ.
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2054
Email address:

The term "floppy corn" simply describes a plant that has fallen over because of the absence of an established nodal root system. Affected plants may survive if the mesocotyl remains intact and subsequent nodes of roots establish themselves into the soil. If the mesocotyl breaks before successful establishment of subsequent nodal roots, the plant dies. The causes of the poor nodal root development varies from situation to situation.

This image gallery depicts "floppy corn" and associated symptoms of over-extended mesocotyls from two no-till fields. For more information, please see the accompanying article.

Click on image to open a larger version.
Ex. #1, Floppy corn plants. Ex. #1, Closer view of same plants.
Ex. #1, Closer view of dead nodal roots of flopped corn plant. Ex. #2, Floppy corn plants.
Ex. #2, Closer view of flopped plant. Ex. #2, Lower stem of amazingly healthy-looking flopped plant.
Ex. #2, Closer view of nodal roots of flopped plant. Ex. #3, Flopped plant near death.
Ex. #3, Broken mesocotyl of flopped plant near death. Wider view of field with floppy corn.
Floppy & standing corn plants. Not a pretty sight.
Like a "house on stilts" surviving because nodal roots established into soil before they dried out. Another "house on stilts", surviving because nodal roots established into soil before they dried out.
Crown exposed 1/2 to 3/4 inch above ground, nodal roots dead or dying, mesocotyl alive. "Surviving by a thread".
Same plant, illustrating that seed depth was technically acceptable, about 1.5 inches below soil surface.  

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