Rapid Corn Syndrome Leads to Twisted Whorls

Rapid Corn Syndrome Leads to Twisted Whorls

Twisted corn leaf due to rapid plant growthRippled corn leaf due to rapid corn growth

Figure 1. Corn leaf twisting (left) and rippling (right) due to rapid growth under unusually warm conditions early in the growing season.(Photos by Wayne Ohnesorg)

June 8, 2012

The warm winter and early spring brought a new twist to Nebraska corn fields, many of which were planted well ahead of normal this year. The warm conditions coupled with several nice showers (for a fortunate few) have meant corn plants developing well ahead of schedule.

These temperatures have led to fast growing corn plants and, in a few situations, plants growing beyond their "capacity." In fields where corn is growing too rapidly, growers are seeing plants with twisted whorls and nitrogen deficient leaves (Figure 1). Additionally, plants will often appear to be crinkled due to rapid leaf expansion. While these symptoms are specific to corn, similar problems can develop in fast-growing soybeans.

Generally, the rapid growth and development does not have a significant effect on yield, especially on a field scale. However, occasionally, individual plants will have trouble with new leaves unfurling from the whorl, causing localized yield losses.

For more information see this recent article in the Iowa State University Integrated Crop Management News article

Greg Kruger
Cropping Systems Specialist, West Central REC, North Platte