Originally published 30 August 1996

Another Example of Beer-Can Ears in Corn

R.L. (Bob) Nielsen , Agronomy Department , Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1150
Internet address: rnielsen@purdue.edu

The 'Beer Can Ear Syndrome' in corn was described in an accompanying article. The stunted ears shown in this document were taken a field in northwest Indiana on August 30 that was planted in late May of 1996. The previous crop was soybean and the tillage was zero-till.

The field is located immediately west of a limestone crushing facility and north of a hardsurfaced road that was previously limestone rocked. The stunted ears were most prevalent in the southwest corner of the field which tends to lie lower than other areas of the field. Soil samples taken throughout the affected area indicated a soil pH of about 6.6, while samples from less affected areas of the field (closer to the limestone crusher and higher elevation) indicated soil pH values of 6.9 to 7.1.

Plants from which ears were found to be severely stunted appeared no less healthy than those whose ears were less stunted. Leaves, stalks, and husks were green with no visible damage or nutrient deficiencies. Husk leaves were essentially normal length and color for severely and less severely stunted ears (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1, Five ears from affected area of the field.

Five ears from affected field

Fig. 2, Same five ears with husks removed.

Same ears with husks removed

Fig. 3, Closeup of severely stunted ear.

Closeup of stunted ear

Fig. 4, Range of stunting found in the field.

Range of severity of stunted ears

Return to the the Chat 'n Chew Cafe.

The Corn Growers Guidebook , a WWW resource for corn management systems in Indiana and the eastern CornBelt.

Purdue University Agronomy Extension WWW Home Page.

Purdue Agronomy On-Line! , Purdue's Agronomy Department WWW Home Page.

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