03 Aug 2020

Preventing Green Snap

Each and every growing season is unique and poses different challenges. Most recently, many areas across the Corn Belt experienced violent winds. Although high winds are never a plus during the growing season, Mother Nature’s timing was particularly poor this time around. She left behind a trail of green snap for many corn growers.

greensnap exampleGreen snap, also known as brittle snap, occurs when strong winds break the corn stalk resulting in a damaged plant.  Most often it takes place when corn plants are growing rapidly through the vegetative stages, especially from V8 to the tasseling timeframe. During these stages the corn plant is playing some aggressive offense. The plant aims to get to the reproductive stage as quickly as possible so that it can start producing the ear of corn. The race through these stages means the plant gives up stalk strength.

Green snap can happen anytime throughout the growing season, however timing is everything when it comes down to looking at the grower’s bottom line. Joel Ransom from North Dakota State University did a study showing yield reduction due to green snap from the V12 stage to almost the tassel period. In the table below, you can see that the earlier green snap occurs the less impact it has on yield.  

greensnap chart
(The data reflected in this table was based on the following information. If the plant snapped below the ear node it was NOT included when figuring up the yield estimate. However, if it was snapped above the ear node, and the conditions were right throughout the growing season, the plant may still put on half of an ear and these WERE counted in the yield estimate.)

In order to prevent green snap, there are few things that need to be considered. First, it is important to carefully select your hybrid. Although there is not one hybrid that is resistant to green snap, hybrid selection is crucial because some grade far better than others. Along with careful hybrid selection, it is also important to manage your plant population. Decreasing your plant population will eliminate the need for plants to compete for sunlight. Which in return will shorten up the plant’s height. Finally, one should be cautious when spraying any type of growth regulator on corn. Whenever corn growth is accelerated a major side effect is that the corn will be more brittle and prone to snapping.

If you have questions about preventing green snap, or if you've experienced green snap in your fields, please contact your local Technical Team Agronomist or STAR Partner dealer.

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