P&PDL Picture of the Week for
March 20, 2006

"Chomped" Ear Symptoms in Corn

R.L. (Bob) Nielsen, Purdue Extension Agronomist

White-tailed deer are common throughout Indiana and are often seen feeding along edges of corn fields throughout the summer months, especially when the grain on the developing ears is near the R3 stage of kernel development (milk stage or the so-called "roasting ear" stage). Deer feeding damage to developing ears at this stage results in a distinctive "chomped" appearance to the mature ears later in the season. One of the possible consequences of deer damage to young ears is the subsequent infection of the damaged cob and kernel tissue by the smut fungus, Ustilago maydis.

Click image to enlarge

"Chomped" ear

"Chomped" ear

"Chomped" ear

"Chomped" ear

"Chomped" ears

"Chomped" ear with ear smut growth

"Chomped" ear with ear smut growth

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service