Popped Kernels and Silk Cut
Bob Nielsen, Extension Corn Production Specialist, Purdue University
Among a number of corny oddities reported
this year throughout Indiana is one that falls into the "kernel disorder" category.
A crop consultant from eastern Indiana recently reported on the
occurrence of a symptom in a seed corn production field known
as "popped kernels". In his words, "...the kernels
appear diagonally sliced. Each sliced half is then folded back
exposing the endosperm, which later receives the fungal attack."
The popped kernel symptom and the related "silk-cut" symptom
are indeed corny oddities in that they rarely occur in commercial
hybrids in Indiana and occasionally occur at significant levels
in seed corn inbreds. Unfortunately, when the symptoms do occur,
they predispose the affected kernels to attack by ear-rotting
The causes are unknown, but are believed to be related to stressful
conditions following pollination. A report from Texas, for example,
suggests that the silk-cut symptom occurs quite frequently in
areas of south Texas prone to late-season drought stress (Odvody
et al., 1997).
For more information on popped kernels, please click here