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Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016

Unusual ears: Sweet corn packs a surprise

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

(Sentinel photo by Magdalene Landegent) Local man Gary Junge found this double-eared corn after purchasing sweet corn in Le Mars. The formation of a second ear from the same stalk is an abnormality, a crop specialist said.
When Gary Junge was husking an ear of sweet corn, what he found caught him off guard.

Inside the husks was not one ear of sweet corn, but two -- one regular size, and one miniature.

Both ears were connected at the stalk.

Iowa State University Extension crop specialist Joel DeJong said he's seen a few reports of these double ears.

"That's not normal," he said. "Once in a while out of the ear shoot area you can get a second ear. It's one of those genetic mix ups."

The double ear, DeJong said, is not like human conjoined twins.

The split happens earlier in the corn's structure, DeJong explained

One state, DeJong said, reported cornfields with ear clusters, where several ears grew from one stalk.

"When that happens it's bad because the field doesn't produce a significant crop," he said.

The plant's energy, he explained, goes into producing many small ears rather than one large one.

"If it happens in a field, they haven't found out for sure why it happens, but it might be a factor in the environment," he said.

The ear of corn Junge purchased came from the Buss corn stand near Bob's Drive-In in Le Mars.

Junge brought the ear back to the stand so the workers could see it.

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