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Corn Growth Stages

Chad Lee, Ph.D. Grain Crops Extension Specialist University of Kentucky


Grain Crops Extension, University of Kentucky

All growth stages presented here are based on


How a Corn Plant Develops, Special Report No. 48 Iowa State University Press $2.00

Extension Distribution Center 119 Printing and Publications Building Iowa State University Ames, Iowa 50011-3171 Telephone: (515) 294-5247 Fax: (515) 294-2945 http://www.extension.iastate.edu/pubs/Order.html
The material in this presentation comes from Iowa State Special Report No. 48. This is an excellent resource for any producer or agronomist.

Grain Crops Extension, University of Kentucky

http://maize.agron.iastate.edu/corngrows.html#stages
Grain Crops Extension, University of Kentucky

Vegetative Stages
VE emergence V1 first leaf V2 second leaf V3 third leaf V(n) nth leaf VT tasseling

Reproductive Stages
R1 silking R2 blister R3 milk R4 dough R5 dent R6 physiological maturity

* When staging a field of corn, each specific V or R stage is defined only when 50 percent or more of the plants in the field are in or beyond that stage.
http://maize.agron.iastate.edu/corngrows.html
Grain Crops Extension, University of Kentucky

Grain Crops Extension, University of Kentucky

VE
Development of Nodal Roots

How a Corn Plant Develops, Special Report No. 48, Iowa State University, 1998 Grain Crops Extension, University of Kentucky

V3

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V3
Growing point is below the soil surface. Frosts on the surface will not kill the plants. Freezing soil temps will kill the plant. Root hairs begin to form on Nodal Roots. Seminal Root growth has basically stopped.

Flooding can kill plants.

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V6
Tassel development has started. Ear shoot formation has also started.

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V6:

Typically when lower leaves begin to tear off of stalk.

To be certain about V-stages beyond V6: Split the entire stalk (from the tip to the roots) in half with a knife.

The first five nodes will be clustered near the bottom of the stalk and the 6th node will be very close to the soil line. Count nodes above the 6th node to determine how many nodes are present. The total number of nodes equals the Vstage of the plant. For example 7 nodes = V7 corn.
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V6

Ear shoot. Growing point is above the ground.

Nodal Root System is the primary root system for nutrients and water.

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V6
Premature Tassel

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V9

Grain Crops Extension, University of Kentucky

V9
Growth rate rapidly increases. Greater demand for nutrients and water.

Ear shoot. Ear shoot. Ear shoot. Growing point.

Grain Crops Extension, University of Kentucky

Both kernel size and kernel number are being determined. Any limits on water or nutrients at this phase will drastically impact yields. Earlier maturing hybrids will pass through this phase faster than later maturing hybrids.

V12

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About 10-12 days from silking.


Entering the most critical stage for yield determination. The plant is most sensitive to water and/or nutrient stress at this stage. Irrigation- the 4 weeks around silking are the most critical.

V15

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V15
Ear shoots near the top of the plant are starting to out-grow ear shoots lower on the plant.

Lower part of plant

Upper part of plant

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V18

Grain Crops Extension, University of Kentucky

V18

Lower part of plant

Upper part of plant

Grain Crops Extension, University of Kentucky

V18

Lower part of plant

Upper part of plant

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VT - Tassle
Occurs when last branch of tassel is visible but before silks emerge. Most susceptible to hail damage at this stage. Complete leaf loss at VT will result in little to no yield.
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VT

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Pollen shed

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R1 - Silking
Silks starting to emerge. N uptake is rapid.

P uptake is rapid.
K uptake is nearly complete.

Watch for corn borer feeding.

Moisture is needed for pollination.

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R1 - Silking
Cob material Premature kernel

Two to three days are required for all silks on an ear to be pollinated.
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R2 - Blister
Ear size is nearly complete. Fertilized silks are starting to dry out. An miniature corn plant has started to develop within the premature kernel.

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R3 - Milk
Kernels are becoming yellow on the outside. Silks are dry. Kernels are at 80% moisture. Stress becomes less of a factor as kernels start to dry down.

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R4 - Dough
Fluid in the kernel is becoming a consistency similar to dough. (70% moisture) Almost of the dry weight has been accumulated. Five embryonic leaves have formed in the kernel. These will be the first five leaves of a new plant as it emerges next year.

Grain Crops Extension, University of Kentucky

R5 - Dent
Most of the kernels have dented on the top. Most kernels are about 55% moisture at the start of R5. A starch layer has formed and begins to progress down the kernel. A frost will stop dry matter accumulation and reduce yields.

Grain Crops Extension, University of Kentucky

R6 Physiological Maturity

Blacklayer
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R6 Physiological Maturity
Kernel is about 30 35% moisture. Kernels need to be at 13 to 15 % moisture for safe storage.

Grain Crops Extension, University of Kentucky

Vegetative Stages
VE emergence V1 first leaf V2 second leaf V3 third leaf V(n) nth leaf VT tasseling

Reproductive Stages
R1 silking R2 blister R3 milk R4 dough R5 dent R6 physiological maturity

* When staging a field of corn, each specific V or R stage is defined only when 50 percent or more of the plants in the field are in or beyond that stage.
http://maize.agron.iastate.edu/corngrows.html
Grain Crops Extension, University of Kentucky

Grain Crops Extension, University of Kentucky