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Wet, saturated soils have lower levels of oxygen and can also have lower soil temperatures. These conditions can reduce root growth and cause shallow roots. If conditions surrounding the shallow root zone become dry, corn plants may experience stress.
Silks are approximately 95% water; therefore, when there is dry weather in combination with high temperatures of >90° F, a delay in silk emergence is common. Corn pollen shed typically lasts five to seven days with silk emergence beginning one to two days after tassel emergence. In drought, pollen shed is often reduced to two to three days and silk emergence delayed four to five days, resulting in a reduction in viable pollen to fertilize the silks. Temperatures above 95° F often reduce pollen viability. Continuation of dry and hot weather in late July and early August can cause post-pollination kernel and ear abortion. Kernels are most susceptible to abortion in the days immediately following pollination. Kernel abortion begins at the ear tip and works its way down the ear. Shallow root systems, high plant populations, nutrient deficiencies, and individual hybrid genetics can impact the severity of kernel and ear abortion. Water use in the plant is highest from silking to milk stage of development. This is when the largest reductions in yield can occur.
Corn hybrids with good drought tolerance have a better ability to handle the lack of water. However, drought tolerant hybrids can still experience yield reductions due to drought stress. Monsanto intends to launch DroughtGard™ Hybrids, its newest technology, as part of the Genuity® family of traits in 2013. They are part of a system offering farmers improved genetics and agronomic practice recommendations together with the new drought trait to help farmers manage the risk of yield loss caused by drought. DroughtGard™ Hybrids are fully approved in the U.S. but certain key international approvals are still pending.
In addition to planting DroughtGard™ Hybrids, planting corn with a biotech trait to help protect against corn rootworm injury can also help provide some protection from drought stress. Genuity® DroughtGard™ Hybrids will be available with Genuity® VT Triple PRO® corn, Genuity® VT Double PRO® RIB Complete™ blend, and Roundup Ready® Corn 2 products.
Sources: 1 Rhoads, F. M. and Bennett, J. M. 1990. Corn. In Stewart, B. A. and Nielsen, D. R. (editors). Irrigation of agricultural crops. p. 569-596. ASA-CSSA-SSSA, Madison, WI 2 Roth, G. 1999. Managing drought stressed corn. Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Pennsylvania State University. Available On-line: cornandsoybeans.psu.edu Additional publications used to create this article: Hall, R C. and Twidwell, E.K. 2002. Effects of drought stress on corn production. South Dakota State University Cooperative Extension Service. Extension Extra. ExEx8033. Available On-line: agbiopubs.sdstate.edu; Lauer, J. 2003. Drought stressed corn. University of Wisconsin Extension. Available On-line: www.uwex.edu; Lauer, J. 2007. How do you manage a corn crop after stress? University of Wisconsin Extension. Available On-line: www.uwex.edu; Purdue Extension. 2010. Corn and soybean field guide; Shaw, Robert H. 1988. Climate requirement. In Sprague, G. F. and Dudley, J. W. (editors). Corn and corn improvement. p. 609-638. American Society of Agronomy, Madison, WI; Wisconsin Corn Agronomy Extension. 2010. Corn development. Available On-line: http://corn.agronomy.wisc.edu. Monsanto Company is a member of Excellence Through Stewardship® (ETS). Monsanto products are commercialized in accordance with ETS Product Launch Stewardship Guidance, and in compliance with Monsanto’s Policy for Commercialization of Biotechnology- Derived Plant Products in Commodity Crops. This product has been approved for import into key export markets with functioning regulatory systems. Any crop or material produced from this product can only be exported to, or used, processed or sold in countries where all necessary regulatory approvals have been granted. It is a violation of national and international law to move material containing biotech traits across boundaries into nations where import is not permitted. Growers should talk to their grain handler or product purchaser to confirm their buying position for this product. Excellence Through Stewardship® is a registered trademark of Biotechnology Industry Organization. B.t. products may not yet be registered in all states. Check with your Monsanto representative for the registration status in your state. IMPORTANT IRM INFORMATION: RIB Complete™ corn does not require the planting of a structured refuge except in the Cotton-Growing Area where corn earworm is a significant pest. Genuity® VT Double PRO® RIB Complete™ corn is a blended seed corn product. See the IRM/Grower Guide for additional information. Always read and follow IRM requirements. Individual results may vary, and performance may vary from location to location and from year to year. This result may not be an indicator of results you may obtain as local growing, soil and weather conditions may vary. Growers should evaluate data from multiple locations and years whenever possible. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Roundup Ready® crops contain genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides. Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Commercialization is dependent on multiple factors, including successful conclusion of the regulatory process. The information presented herein is provided for educational purposes only, and is not and shall not be construed as an offer to sell, or a recommendation to use, any unregistered pesticide for any purpose whatsoever. It is a violation of federal law to promote or offer to sell an unregistered pesticide. DroughtGard™, Genuity and Design®, Genuity Icons, Genuity®, RIB Complete™, Roundup Ready 2 Technology and Design®, Roundup Ready®, Roundup®, VT Double PRO®, and VT Triple PRO® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC. LibertyLink® and the Water Droplet Design® is a registered trademark of Bayer. Herculex® is a registered trademark of Dow AgroSciences LLC. Respect the Refuge and Corn Design® and Respect the Refuge® are registered trademarks of National Corn Growers Association. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2012 Monsanto Company.AMB070810; EJP072310; AMB051012