Growing Degree Units (GDU’s) for Corn Growth Development • 9.6.16

Andy Westhoven

Growing Degree Units (GDU’s) for Corn Growth Development

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The rate of growth for corn is temperature dependent.  The way we relate temperature to corn growth and development is through Growing Degree Unit’s (GDU’s).  Each growth stage can be estimated by calculating GDU’s, along with when we expect corn to reach physiological maturity and reach a harvest moisture goal.

To figure GDU’s, there is a simple calculation (Figure 1). 

·         Use formula from Steinacher’s Early Emergence GDU newsletter from 4-22-15

-Tmax or maximum temperature is should not exceed 86 degrees Farenheit.                                                    

-Tmin or minimum temperature does not go below 50 degrees Farenheit.

Growth Stage

Importance of Growth Stage

Approximate GDU’s

VE

Emergence

100-120

V2

2 Leaves Fully Emerged

200

V4

4 Leaves Fully Emerged

345

V6

Growing Point at Soil Surface

476

V8

Tassel Beginning to Develop

610

V10

Rapid Growth Phase Begins

740

V12

Ear Formation-Kernel Rows Determined

870

V14

Silks Developing on Ear

1000

V16 or VT

Tip of Tassel Emerging

1135

R1

Silks Emerging/Pollen Shedding

1400

R2

Blister Stage

1660

R4

Dough Stage

1925

R5

Kernels Dented

2450

R6

Physiological Maturity-Kernel Moisture at 30-35%

2700

Once the corn plant transitions from the vegetative stage to the reproductive stage, it then utilizes nutrients for reproduction and no longer for plant growth.  Since the ear size has been determined, grain fill becomes the main priority.  Any stress, temperature, moisture or nutrient, will affect the size and weight of the kernels.  Once a corn plant reaches R6, or physiological maturity, the kernel moisture is 30-35% and will begin the drydown process.

References:

http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/agr/agr202/agr202.pdf

http://agron-www.agron.iastate.edu/Courses/agron212/Calculations/GDD.htm

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