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Picture of corn stalk with 3 ears

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Here's a picture of a stalk of corn in a Nutech test plot I put out at a customers place this spring. I doubt if all 3 ears will go ahead and mature though. I was just thinking it would be fun if a person could spoon feed this plant the rest of the fall and see what all 3 ears would do. It's not uncommon to see 2 ears on some hybrids around here but usually there is one better than the other.

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Dan, we had one off by itself one time that had 5 or 6 at this stage about 5 years ago. If I remember right, only 2 of them matured, maybe even just 1 matured. If you split a stalk and disect it, there is a ear on every joint I believe. Those Pioneer growing point newsletters have some superb information in them on things like this.

I had one soybean plant one time off by itself that had 680 pods on it. They were so thick I had to break a branch off one at a time to count them. Wished they all were like that!

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Kind of relevant, but when I get into one of my Oliver Wendall Douglas (Green Acres) moments, and am thinking about the plants "shoosting up from the ground", I think it is amazing that every plant is the same height in a field.

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Dan, we had one off by itself one time that had 5 or 6 at this stage about 5 years ago. If I remember right, only 2 of them matured, maybe even just 1 matured. If you split a stalk and disect it, there is a ear on every joint I believe. Those Pioneer growing point newsletters have some superb information in them on things like this.

I had one soybean plant one time off by itself that had 680 pods on it. They were so thick I had to break a branch off one at a time to count them. Wished they all were like that!

Kristin,

Your right there is an ear at every joint. I had an agronomy at Purdue Short Course and they showed up the ears and tassel from a 6" tall corn plant that they had dissected. The outside row of corn across from my house has several triple eared stalks.

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Which hybrid, Dan? Are the silks starting to brown off? It's a little hard to tell if it's that, or a reddish tint to the silks. If they're starting to brown, would be about the right stage for Headline. Won't hurt my feelings a bit if he wants to Headline it. Nice looking plants, though.

JDH

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I've got alot of 3 eared stalks this year. I'll have to look closer to be sure, but the field I pulled this one out of I'd say 50% have three ears. The other 50% only has 2 ears.

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Dairyland Seed, number D-7196

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Kristen, Ive see that happen too with volunteer corn. Had a neighbor one time showed us a stalk with 6 ears on it. They werent good ears though. Makes a person kind of wonder if there is some little secret to unlock the potential for more good ears.

John, this is in the 5X-711 strip. The silks in the picture arent quite browning off yet. I think the 109-110 day stuff is probably ready but the 116 day stuff isn't yet. From what I can see Im glad you went ahead and got ahold of the 5H-412. Its the tallest in the plot so far, even taller than the 911. Im anxious to see how it yields this fall.

Chad, thats pretty much what Iv'e seen here too. Not all stalks are the same. This one was the only 3 eared stalk I seen in tis row.

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I worked for Stine seed co. doing experimental seed research, testing, planting, harvesting. You would NOT believe some of the stuff I have seen a corn and soybean plant do! Trust me 5-6 ear corn is nothing!

Its always cool to see in your field though, there is a lot of 300bpa corn around where I live that makes 2 ear corn. Some crazy good ground we have here.

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Years ago I saw a field near the U of I that has 12-14 ' tall stalks and most had multi ears .

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If I remember correctly from the discussions I have had with a well known agronomist from Iowa, the corn plant can produce an ear at each leaf. If you pull the leaves off the plant you can see if your holding the top ear(where your biggest yield is) if there is no groove in the stalk on the leaf above your highest ear on the corn plant. I would think that more than 2 ears on a plant is not a good thing. It takes a lot of energy to mature 3 ears. Better have a lot of fertilizer out there.

Here's a good question for you guys. What do you think is a better ear, one filled to the tip or just tipped back from the end a little bit?

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Dan, is the 412 even taller than the 716? The 716 is pretty good sized, it's rated slightly taller than the 911. I know Ken and Dennis are pretty high on the 412, that's why Ken had me make that flying trip on short notice to Utica, IL, to pick it up in May after it came in so late from winter production. It sounds too good not to have been able to get a look at it this year. Another day or 2, and probably none of it would've gotten in the ground. I guess we'll be find out more pretty quick. I believe the 711 is going to be another new one.

But that's one of the good things about the company, Ken and Dennis are 2 of a handful of the sharpest corn guys in the business, and I've been associated with Ken for at least 22 years now. We basically have 2 guys, company owners, who are selecting out these hybrids themselves, instead of running everything through a committee that operates in cya mode, and sends stuff back for 1 more year's evaluation in plots regardless of how good multiple year data looks, like the bigger companies do. That's why we can get new products into the farmers' hands quicker than the big companies. Sometimes a couple years quicker.

Will be interesting to see how the plot comes along.

JDH

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your surprised by a whole three ears??? all of our wensman corn looks like that..... i just hope it amounts to something this year.... <_<:rolleyes: its been so dry this year not much has amounted to much. but our beans look btr then everyone elses in our area. :)

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But that's one of the good things about the company, Ken and Dennis are 2 of a handful of the sharpest corn guys in the business, and I've been associated with Ken for at least 22 years now. We basically have 2 guys, company owners, who are selecting out these hybrids themselves, instead of running everything through a committee that operates in cya mode, and sends stuff back for 1 more year's evaluation in plots regardless of how good multiple year data looks, like the bigger companies do. That's why we can get new products into the farmers' hands quicker than the big companies. Sometimes a couple years quicker.

JDH

If you don't think Dennis knows alot just ask him.....I'm sure he'd be glad to talk about himself for hours.

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Here's a good question for you guys. What do you think is a better ear, one filled to the tip or just tipped back from the end a little bit?

From what I've been told, having an ear thats tipped back a little is one way to tell if you are close to having the right population. If the ear is totally filled then you need to up the population. I would think having say 34,000 plants per acre with some slightly tipped back ears may yeild more than say 28 or 29000 plants per acre and being filled all the way. I dont believe the extra small kernals on the ends at 28,000 would add up as fast as the whole kernals on the extra ears from the 34,000 population. I guess it would be intereting to do a plot and just see. Location may have more of an impact as well.

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I guess there is no fooling you. That is what I was told is if you are filling them to the tip your are either spending to much money on fertilizer or you need to bump your populations. The "perfect" ear as per this particular agronomist is one that is tipped back a 1/2 to 3/4 inch with a very abrupt stop in kernals. You don't want the kernals to so called "trail off". If you get a tip back with harvestable kernals the length of the cob you hit it right on the head.

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I guess there is no fooling you. That is what I was told is if you are filling them to the tip your are either spending to much money on fertilizer or you need to bump your populations. The "perfect" ear as per this particular agronomist is one that is tipped back a 1/2 to 3/4 inch with a very abrupt stop in kernals. You don't want the kernals to so called "trail off". If you get a tip back with harvestable kernals the length of the cob you hit it right on the head.

I would agree. The trailing off could also be what some call aborted kernals from ambient conditions during pollination.

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If you don't think Dennis knows alot just ask him.....I'm sure he'd be glad to talk about himself for hours.

I don't know if we're talking about the same Dennis or not, but if we are, I'm sorry, but I haven't seen that out of him. Does he get excited about his work? Yes. Does he get excited about the product lineups he works on putting together, and individual products within those lineups? Yes. He is a statistics oriented person, and I do know that when new performance info comes out post harvest on new lines we're evaluating, that he will pore over a mountain of information until he reaches the point of burnout, and needs to take some vacation time and recharge. I know he injects a lot of enthusiasm into his presentations, and nothing wrong with that. Ken does make a good balance to Dennis, because he evaluates from a different angle, and is much more laid back about everything. I trust Ken completely. As I said, I've only been associated with Dennis for 3 years or so, compared with 22 for Ken, but I've never seen any evidence in his personality for what you are alluding to. I do know he knows corn.

In fact, judging from your age in your profile, I'd venture to say Dennis has probably forgotten more about hybrid corn, parent lines, genetics, traits, etc., than you know, or may ever know. No offense, just stating the facts as I see them. I've been in the seed industry for about 29 years now, so I'm no beginner myself. I know a self absorbed poser when I see one, and Dennis ain't it.

JDH

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Here's a good question for you guys. What do you think is a better ear, one filled to the tip or just tipped back from the end a little bit?

Part of it depends on the ear type. If you are planting a hybrid that puts on a determinate ear type, you better hope that ear is filling to the end, and that you have the population high enough. That hybrid is going to put on basically the same ear, whether is at 20k or 35k. It's going to be a girthy ear, and it needs to fill clear to the end. It gets its yield largely through population, and you'd better not skimp.

Certain hybrids, especially the semi-flex ear types, reach maximum yield when they are planted at a population which causes the ear to tip back 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch. Any company worth its salt should be able to identify those particular hybrids for you.

A hybrid with a full flex ear is a different story. In lower populations, it will flex larger to try and make up the difference, and again, you better hope it's filling to the end. Under high populations, again it'll flex and adjust its size smaller, and if it starts to tip back, you may have reached that point in the population for maximum yield.

Having said that, I'd also agree with Dan, but ear type plays a large part in it.

JDH

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John makes a good point about the ear type. I was thinking of a hybrid with some ear flex to it when I was talking earlier.

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Hello gentlemen, I am an agronomist as you may know. From my understanding (worked with golden harvest research) and have worked in agriculture like many of you all my life. I have taken plant genetics (wooped de doo) and I have a thorough understanding of this. I have worked for a seed production company raising hybrids etc. So this is my angle on this. If you have more than 1 ear, your plant pop. is too low. Plain and simple and too the point. Yes it is possible to get more than one ear, but then you will sacrifice the initial ear to help make the second ear. You see, the ears are the sink of the plant. The plant is doing everything to make that ear. It will cannibalize itself to do so. Therefore, I would rather have one full ear thank two, if it will relate to increase bushels and better shellout.

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Hello gentlemen, I am an agronomist as you may know. From my understanding (worked with golden harvest research) and have worked in agriculture like many of you all my life. I have taken plant genetics (wooped de doo) and I have a thorough understanding of this. I have worked for a seed production company raising hybrids etc. So this is my angle on this. If you have more than 1 ear, your plant pop. is too low. Plain and simple and too the point. Yes it is possible to get more than one ear, but then you will sacrifice the initial ear to help make the second ear. You see, the ears are the sink of the plant. The plant is doing everything to make that ear. It will cannibalize itself to do so. Therefore, I would rather have one full ear thank two, if it will relate to increase bushels and better shellout.

Though not as experienced in the field of plant genetics as DT1466, as someone who has farmed for all his lihe (will be 58 this month), I am in agreement with what he has said. However, there are exceptions to everything & this year seems to be an exception to the "maore than 1 ear, your populations are too low". We are seeing a lot of two ear corn plants this year, and even some with more. This is in corn planted in 20" rows and planted populations of approx 40,000 with stands in the 36-38,000 range. Past experience has shown that the 2nd ear will usually not mount to much, if anything, and the primary ear can be affected as well when the cannibalize them in an effort to support itself. But, who knows, this may be the year that isn't the norm.

Someone earlier mentioned tip roll back. Though not always, most times tip roll back is a good indication of where you need to be on populations as long as weather conditions are favorable. I am one who likes to see a minnimum of 1/2" rollback & 1" doesn't bother me that much. Besides, I have normally found that a combine will leave those small kernals on the tis of ars unless you set the concaves so tight that you end up with cracked or broken kernals. So even if that ear fills out completely you're not gainiong any yield anyways.

DT1466, one question on plant populations. What are you seeing as "top end" plant populations? I'm talking in good black soils, such as Ipava & Sable loams, with a high fertility enviroment. Last year we pushed our planting pops to the 38-40,000 range in 30" rows and this year we ran the same pops, only in 20" rows. Last year we were still seeing the highest yields on the yield monitor where we overlapped on the ends & point rows along the sides. Many places I saw yield increases of 25 bpa or more in these areas and in some well over 50 bpa. I wouldn't want to plant an entire field at those pops as stalk quality was poor with a lot of it lodged but was wondering how much farther they can be pushed.

Also, you say you work for GH. My son is a GH dealer & we plant quite a bit of GH corn & mostly NK beans. What area do you work in? Son's agronomist is Brad Rademacker. By chance do you know him? He seems to be on top of things. I know he stresses higher plant populations to maximise yields and when that point is reaches then look at narrower row widths.

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Thanks boog for the question. I have a close friend who works in IA for Gro Alliance LLC. They produce the hybrids for almost every company out there. He is echoing the same as I and that is 36K - 38K / a. 36 to 37,000 seems to be the sweet spot in IA. Also 30" rows are superior to 20" If anything drop to 28" but why?

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Trying to find that "right" population is tricky, especially here. This year we maybe could have pushed to 32-34000 but most years that much of a stand would dry up in July. 26-30000 works well here on most years. Hopefully our 2 and 3 ear plants won't hurt our yields to bad, if our corn makes it. We need an October frost.

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Thanks boog for the question. I have a close friend who works in IA for Gro Alliance LLC. They produce the hybrids for almost every company out there. He is echoing the same as I and that is 36K - 38K / a. 36 to 37,000 seems to be the sweet spot in IA. Also 30" rows are superior to 20" If anything drop to 28" but why?

We went to 20" rows because we felt that at 38-40k in 30" rows we were crowding the plants too much. At 40k that is a plant every aprrox 5.25". In 20s it spreads it out to a plant approx every 7.9". We are hoping that by crowding the row closer but opening the spacing betwen individual plants in the row will give the plants more sunlight.

We looked at this for 4-5 years before deciding to make the switch and even some 15" corn one year. There are some others in the surronding area who are planting 20" rows & 3 that were on 15s, 2 of the guys on 15s switched to 20s this year & 1 that was on 20s switched back to 30s. I have a good friend that is in the multi-peril insurance business and he says that the guys he had insured that switched to 20s from 30s all increased there yields 10-12 bpa and in most years their yields will run that much better than yields right across the fence where corn was planted in 30s. I figure that farmers like to inflate their yields but this guy is looking at actuall yield production so should know what he's talking about.

We talked about making the switch 3 years ago but held off wanting to see a little more eveidence, Plus this year the timing was better to switch. Three years ago when we traded planters our cornhead was still in pretty good shape. This time we were in the market for a head as well so thought it was a better time to get our feet wet Also, if 20s don't work out our CIH service manager says we can always switch the planter & head over to 30s if need be.

Personally I feel that 20" corn is the coming thing in corn production. 15s tend to cut the air movement too much & from what I have seen of the tein rows I haven't been impressed. Twin rows isn't anything new, I don't know how many of you remember Burch (sp) Manufacturing out of Evansville IN. They're probably more known for their discs but they also made a twin row planter for a few years but it never caught on. I'm one that is old enough to remember when the concept of 30" roow corn came in and the same arguements against 20" corn are the same arguements put forth against 30" corn back then & you can see where we are today.

I might be wrong in this, we'll see in 5-10 years. By then I'll be retireds & it won't matter anyways as long as I get my rent check on time :D:D

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