Mixed Kernel Colors

Ears of yellow dent corn ears (two on left) and blue color (two on right) two center ears from adjacent rows. Two outside ears from plants approx 40 row rows away from blue or yellow kernel plants. Source: P. Thomison, OSU

Ears of yellow dent corn ears (two on left) and blue color (two on right) two center ears from adjacent rows. Two outside ears from plants approx 40 row rows away from blue or yellow kernel plants.
Source: P. Thomison, OSU

Symptoms:

Mix of kernel colors evident on ears.

 

Causes:

Occurs as a result of cross pollination when corn hybrids or varieties with different kernel colors are grown in close proximity to each other as in figure above with  yellow dent corn grown adjacent to blue corn.

 

Mixed kernel colors are result of the xenia effect (the effect of pollen on seeds).

 

Management:

Several methods, including isolation and border rows, planting dates, and hybrid maturity, are effective in limiting cross pollination of corn fields.

 

References:

Thomison, P. 2004. Managing “Pollen Drift” to Minimize Contamination of Non-GMO Corn, AGF-153-04.  Available at:  https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/agf-153 [URL verified 4/12/2018]