ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (AP) -- A Hardin County farmer says that some ears among his feed corn rows popped on the stalk in a phenomenon that agricultural experts say is associated with irregular rainfall and high heat.

Star Mills farmer Patrick Preston sent a photo of the burst kernels that look like partially popped popcorn to the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

Hardin County Extension agent Doug Shepherd told The News Enterprise he's never seen popped kernels before.

Shepherd said the outer coat of a kernel can explode from heat after the ears are pollinated. Temperatures in corn fields can be 10 degrees higher than in the surrounding area as the plants are producing energy.

Shepherd predicts corn yields will fall below normal this year because of hot weather and spotty rain.


Information from: The News-Enterprise, http://www.thenewsenterprise.com

Copyright 2010 The AP.

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