The first leaves on corn plants often look yellow and very battered, from pushing their way out of the soil.
I haven't been able to keep up with the blog posts quite like I was hoping due to another surprise that is coming to How Farms Work that will be announced in the following week or two, but we are well underway with the growing season of 2016. As of the time of the publishing of this post, our corn plants have doubled in height and are now very green. The soybeans are bursting out of the soil but some fields have yet to emerge.
Many viewers often show concern when some plants first emerge with twisted first leaves and the entire field having a yellow appearance. This is completely normal as from the time the seeds first imbibe water until they have their first leaf unfurled and the second on the way, the plant is using the resources it has from the seed.
This planting season had another factor however, as we experienced near freezing temperatures soon after our first fields were planted. This can have a negative impact on the corn due to the corn seed imbibing chilled water from the soil. Corn plants are warm season plants and thrive most when emerging in 80-90F soil temperatures. Many people will argue on the impact this can have on yield, but unless your plants are set back very far by the cold weather to where they run low on resources from the seed before emergence, it shouldn't have any impact on your yield.
One fact not worth arguing is the damage that can take place after the plant has begun growing and not yet emerged from the soil in temperatures under the freezing point. If the coleoptile (the protective sheath covering the leaves) freezes, it can rupture prematurely causing leafing underground. If the growing point of the plant freezes, it will cause immediate plant death. If temperatures drop below freezing for extended periods, the growing point of the plant can be protected slightly by the leaves above ground. Though the leaves may die, the plant might survive as new leaves can take their place, so long as the plant has access to enough resources.
This week we finish harrowing and get on to a new equipment purchase. Stay tuned all week!