Wheat Growth Stages and Wheat Resources

Education is key to knowing to growth stages of wheat for applications of herbicides, fertilizer, and maintaining good growth. The following are some great resources for wheat.

Grain Fill Stages In Corn

Please note: While many of the Corn Growth Stages are passed for Paulding County in the article from Bob Neilson, I received a few calls on later stage Corn Growth stages. The article below had some great comparison pictures. 


A stress-free grain fill period can maximize the yield potential of a crop, while severe stress during grain fill can cause kernel abortion or lightweight grain and encourage the development of stalk rot. The health of the upper leaf canopy is particularly important for achieving maximum grain filling capacity. Some research indicates that the upper leaf canopy, from the ear leaf to the uppermost leaf, is responsible for no less than 60% of the photosynthate necessary for filling the grain.

Kernel development proceeds through several distinct stages that were originally described by Hanway (1971) and most recently by Abendroth et al. (2011). As with leaf staging protocols, the kernel growth stage for an entire field is defined when at least 50% of the plants in a field have reached that stage.

Delayed planting of corn decreases the apparent thermal time (GDDs) required between planting and physiological maturity (Nielsen, 2019). A large proportion of that decrease occurs during grain filling and may be partially related to shorter and cooler days in late September and October that naturally slow photosynthesis and encourage plant senescence.

Silking Stage (Growth Stage R1)

Silk emergence is technically the first recognized stage of the reproductive period. Every ovule (potential kernel) on the ear develops its own silk (the functional stigma of the female flower). Silks begin to elongate soon after the V12 leaf stage (12 leaves with visible leaf collars), beginning with the ovules near the base of the cob and then sequentially up the cob, with the tip ovules silking last. Consequently, the silks from the base half of the ear are typically the first to emerge from the husk leaves. Turgor pressure “fuels” the elongation of the silks and so severe drought stress often delays silk elongation and emergence from the husk leaves. Silks elongate about 1.5 inches per day during the first few days after they emerge from the husk leaves. Silks continue to elongate until pollen grains are captured and germinate or until they simply deteriorate with age.

Silks remain receptive to pollen grain germination for up to 10 days after silk emergence (Nielsen, 2020b), but deteriorate quickly after about the first 5 days of emergence. Natural senescence of silk tissue over time results in collapsed tissue that restricts continued growth of the pollen tube. Silk emergence usually occurs in close synchrony with pollen shed (Nielsen, 2020c), so that duration of silk receptivity is normally not a concern. Failure of silks to emerge in the first place (for example, in response to silkballing or severe drought stress) does not bode well for successful pollination.

Pollen grains “captured” by silks quickly germinate and develop pollen tubes that penetrate the silk tissue and elongate to the ovule within about 24 hours. The pollen tubes contain the male gametes that eventually fertilize the ovules. Within about 24 hours or so after successfully fertilizing an ovule, the attached silk deteriorates at the base, collapses, and drops away. This fact can be used to determine fertilization success before visible kernel development occurs (Nielsen, 2016).


Silk appearance at R1

Closeup of ovules and R1

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Soybean Vegetative Growth Stages- VC vs V1

Article by Laura Lindsey

Stage VC - Definition: Fehr and Caviness (1977)- Unifoliolate leaves sufficiently unrolled, so the leaf edges are not touching Pederson (2009)- Unifoliolate leaves unrolled sufficiently, so the leaf edges are not touching

Stage VC – Definition: Fehr and Caviness (1977)- Unifoliolate leaves sufficiently unrolled, so the leaf edges are not touching Pederson (2009)- Unifoliolate leaves unrolled sufficiently, so the leaf edges are not touching

Across the state, soybean growth and development is variable, ranging from early vegetative stages to flowering. However, there has been some confusion regarding the identification of the VC and V1 growth stages. This confusion is mostly due to two definitions of V1…that actually mean the same thing. The Fehr and Caviness Method (1977) is based on the number of nodes that have a fully developed leaf, whereas Pederson (2009) focuses more on leaf unrolling so that the leaf edges are no longer touching. The VC definition for both methods is the same, but the differences start to appear between the methods at V1. Fehr and Caviness define V1 as “fully developed leaves at unifoliolate nodes,” which also means that there is “one set of unfolded trifoliolate leaves unrolled sufficiently, so the leaf edges are not touching.” This second definition is common in extension publications (Pedersen, 2009). Continue reading