1984 - Volume #8, Issue #6, Page #20[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Illinois Farmer Grows Six Ears On A Stalk
"It's the most exciting thing that's happened here since my great grandfather Kerker bought the farm in 1839," Kerker, a 78-year-old retired farmer told FARM SHOW.
Kerker rents out his land near Germantown Hills, Ill. to a neighbor who planted it with PAG seed from Pfister. The prolific stalk was found on an outside row in an 80 acre field.
"It's the first time I've ever seen that many ears on a single cornstalk," says Kerker, noting that there were many other stalks in this particular field with two, three and four ears. After Kerker found the 6-eared stalk, he began daily waterings so that the stalk grew to 7 ft. tall. The top three ears fully matured while the bottom four were progressively smaller. All had developed kernels.
An agronomist at the University of Illinois said that nearly all corn plants have the potential to grow 6 ears but that it usually doesn't happen because there aren't enough nutrients in the soil to support that many ears. The scientist says the plant is probably not a genetic mutant but simply the result of "freak" circumstances.
Despite the plant's unusual yield, Kerker harvested it "just like any other".
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