Purdue University Department of Agronomy

Corny News Network

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12 July 2013
URL: http://www.kingcorn.org/news/articles.13/WindDamage-0712.html
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Plants leaned over by wind

Root-lodged corn

Green snap from strong winds

Damage to Corn Plants by Strong Winds

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

Storms packing strong winds have rolled through Indiana several time already this growing season. Recent storms, in particular, caused quite a bit of damage to the corn crop in some fields. The damage includes minor leaning or bending of plants, outright uprooting of plants (root lodging), and the so-called "green snap" phenomenon where stalks literally break off or snap above a stalk node (often below the harvestable ear).

The crop is particularly vulnerable to such damage from strong winds when it is in the latter stages of the rapid growth phase prior to pollination, wherein overall plant and root dry matter increases rapidly but more importantly, stalk internode elongation occurs very rapidly. Rapid elongation of the stalk internodes (the tissue between the stalk nodes or "joints") often outpaces the lignification of the same tissue. The development of lignins provide the structural strength to the stalk.

Assessing the damage and predicting the eventual effect on grain yield from such damage can be challenging. The one certain advice that can be given is that such assessment should not be done the day after the storm. Rather, you should wait at least 4 to 5 days to allow the damaged plants to demonstrate whether or not they will recover.

Related reading

Butzen, Steve. Brittle Snap Injury in Corn. DuPont Pioneer. [online] https://www.pioneer.com/home/site/us/agronomy/library/brittle-snap/ [URL accessed July 2013].

Nielsen, RL (Bob). 2011a. An Example of "Recovery" From Severe Root-Lodging. Corny News Network, Purdue Extension. [online] http://www.kingcorn.org/news/articles.11/FlatCorn-0728.html [URL accessed July 2013].

Nielsen, RL (Bob). 2011b. Prospects of Recovery for Root-Lodged Corn. Corny News Network, Purdue Extension. [online] http://www.kingcorn.org/news/articles.11/FlatCorn-0726.html [URL accessed July 2013].

Thomison, Peter. 2011. Green Snap" Damage to Corn. Ohio State Extension C.O.R.N. [online] http://corn.osu.edu/newsletters/2011/2011-23/201cgreen-snap-damage-to-corn [URL accessed July 2013].