Corn plants producing multiple ears in Nepal

The Nepal Innov Agrico:lab team recently visited a maize field in Itahari 03, Sunsari, where we encountered an interesting occurrence of corn plants producing multiple ears. Typically, modern hybrids tend to produce a single main ear per plant. However, in certain cases, it is not uncommon to find two ears per plant, especially under favorable growing conditions. These additional ears usually develop on separate nodes below the primary ear and are generally smaller in size compared to the main ear. However, we observed a more unusual phenomenon known as multiple ears per node, bouquet ears, or MESS Syndrome (Multiple Ears on Same Shank). This is when multiple ears develop on the same node of the plant. It is important to note that these ears often experience stunting, abnormal growth, and pollination issues, which can have a negative impact on yield. The extent of the yield impact can vary depending on factors such as the dominance of one ear over the others, the number of ears formed at the same node, and the overall number of affected plants. In this specific case, the presence of multiple ears per node without seed kernels can likely be attributed to various factors. The excessive application of chemical fertilizers, particularly urea, may have disrupted the normal reproductive process of the maize plants. Additionally, the occurrence of high temperatures during the flowering stage and a deficiency in irrigation during vegetative growth could have further contributed to the observed phenomenon. It is crucial to understand that while the presence of multiple ears per node is not uncommon, it is important to monitor the development of these ears. If the primary ear continues to develop normally, there is no need to be concerned as the plant will prioritize its growth. However, in the case of multiple ears on the same node, it is likely that these ears will experience stunted growth, abnormal development, and pollination issues, which may result in reduced yield. The exact impact on yield will depend on factors such as the dominance of one ear, the number of ears formed at the same node, and the overall prevalence of this phenomenon in the affected plants.