Small Corn Ears

davemwJuly 27, 2010

My corn tastes great and kernels are fully formed but the ears are tiny. When harvested the ear is 12" long from base to silk. When the husk is removed the ear itself is about 6" and only about 4" of the cob has perfectly formed full size kernels. This is my 2nd year at growing corn and I am adjusting the soil per County extension recomendations based on soil samples but what else might I be looking for as a reason for these tasty yet tiny ears? Thanks in advance for any answers.

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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I have heard that potassium helps to fill out the ear to the tip.

Other possibilities are variety, moisture, sunshine hours, full polination [though usually this results in missing grains throughout], and nitrogen. Spindly stalks usually have shortened ears like you are talking about.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 5:22PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Small short ears are usually lack of water or nitrogen. To get a big ear you need a big stalk, nearly one inch diameter at the base, and large green leaves. This takes lots of sun, fertile soil, and plenty of water.

I'd bet the plants were small or water stressed. Wayne is right in that poor pollination usually results in scattered kernels on the cob. Water, fertility or some other stress gives a short ear.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 2:28PM
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Concur, except that no one has mentioned cultivar. If your cultivar is supposed to have large ears, then you have stressed the plant. Crowding is the condition that I see most often with new growers. Lack of ferility and water can also be causes. Most new growers overdo these two.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 4:46PM
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