Corn Growth and Development Publication Celebrates Two Years of Success



Corn Growth and DevelopmentAMES, Iowa – Students, corn producers and agronomists are taking an in-depth look at corn, from the moment the seed is planted to maturity, with Corn Growth and Development (PMR 1009), a publication from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

In 2011, the ISU Extension and Outreach corn production team completed this publication, which serves as the standard reference on corn growth and development for many. It has been highly successful in its first two years in the ISU Extension and Outreach online store.

The publication takes much of what is known about crop physiology and combines that with field agronomics to provide students, corn producers and agronomists the current and technical information they want and can apply to real world production. Authors of the publication are Lori Abendroth; Roger Elmore, ISU Extension corn specialist; Matthew Boyer, former agronomy graduate student; and Stephanie (Marlay) Bowden, agronomy specialist.

Corn Growth and Development replaced How a Corn Plant Develops, the previous industry standard. To develop the new publication, the team conducted multiyear research trials, synthesized research papers, grew hundreds of plants for photography sessions and spent months working with editors and designers. The publication weaves the newest scientific facts regarding corn growth and development throughout the pages in a way that is concise and easily applicable for people in production agriculture. Key features include

  • More than 90 images, including whole-plant images from emergence to maturity
  • Detailed descriptions of vegetative and reproductive development
  • New dry matter and nutrient accumulations figures
  • Clarification of corn development staging methods
  • A list of end notes with agronomic research references

The publication is available in a print version in both English and Spanish, and in an e-version in English. Each image from the publication also can be electronically downloaded.

“A primary goal for the publication was to help equip students, agronomists, corn producers and scientists throughout the Midwest. I think it is geared really well toward clientele and students who want a comprehensive understanding of corn development that can serve as the foundation for understanding production agriculture and how management practices may impact crop yield. I am thrilled at the publication’s success to-date and hope we can continue to reach more individuals,” said Abendroth.

The publication provides students with the deep knowledge of the crops they will work with in the field, said Abendroth. It provides an overall foundation for understanding corn production.

“Corn is a highly versatile crop and is fairly uniform in its development across a wide geographic range,” said Abendroth. “We worked hard to make this publication accessible regarding the data and information presented so that many audiences would find it useful, as well as providing several different formats for them.”

The English print version has sold more than 12,000 copies in more than 20 states, the English e-books have sold more than 350 copies worldwide. The Spanish print version and digital images have sold less, but with price adjustments recently made on the images, the team is optimistic. Overall, more than 12,600 copies of the publication have been sold.

The publication is $14 in both print versions, the e-version is $5 and the digital images sell for various prices. Bulk discounts are in place for book orders of 100 or more. To purchase the publication in its various formats, visit the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach online store.

Author Profile: Lori Abendroth

Abendroth worked on the publication as an associate corn agronomist, and is now the project manager of a United States Department of Agriculture-funded climate and corn-based cropping systems coordinated agricultural project based at Iowa State. She manages a team of individuals across 11 institutions and nine Midwestern states. The team is working to identify practices that will increase the resilience and adaptability of Midwest agriculture to more volatile weather patterns.

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