Chilling Injury Effect on Corn Emergence & Yield in Eastern Missouri

Background and Objective

  • Previous research has shown that the effect of cold stress following planting on corn germination and emergence can differ based on the timing of stress conditions and the stress tolerance of the corn hybrid.
  • A field demonstration was established in 2014 using ice applied to corn rows following planting to show the effect of cold stress timing on emergence and productivity of 2 Pioneer® brand corn products.

Study Description

Location: Shelbyville, Mo.
Plot Layout: 10-ft long single rows
Row Width: 30 inches
Pioneer® brand products
  • P1151AM™ (AM,LL,RR2) - Stress emergence rating = 4
  • P0993HR (HX1,LL,RR2) - Stress emergence rating = 5
Planting Date: April 19, 2014
Treatments: Ice application timing (hours after planting):
  0, 24, 48, 72, and check (no ice)
Data Collected:  
  • Time-lapse cameras used to capture differences in emergence timing
  • Ears collected from 10-ft strips to weigh and estimate yield

Photos: Forms for holding ice over the row (left). Time-lapse camera used to monitor corn emergence (right).
10-ft forms were built from 2” x 4” lumber to hold ice over the row (left). TimelapseCam 8.0 and TimelapseCam editing software were used to monitor emergence (right).


  • Time to complete emergence was 3 days longer for Pioneer® hybrid P0993HR than Pioneer® P1151AM™ brand corn with chilling stress initiated immediately after planting
    (Figure 1).
  • Chilling stress did not cause a delay in time to complete emergence for either corn product at any of the other timings.
Chart: Effect of chilling timing on days to complete emergence.

Figure 1. Effect of chilling timing on days to complete emergence.

  • Estimates of final yield based on hand-harvested ears indicated the potential for substantial yield penalties associated with chilling injury after planting (Table 1).
  • Estimated yield reduction was similar for the 2 corn products when chilling stress was applied immediately after planting.
  • For all subsequent chilling application timings, estimated yield reduction was greater for P1151AM™ (which has a lower stress emergence rating) than P0993HR.
Table 1. Estimated yield reduction relative to the check based on
timing of chilling (hours after planting).
  Hybrid/Brand¹     0 hours    24 hours    48 hours     72 hours  
  P0993HR 28% 6% 8% 0%
  P1151AM 26% 25% 13% 14%
Photos: Ears from P0993HR and P1151AM(TM)
Ears from P0993HR (left) and P1151AM™ (right) hand-harvested from the untreated check and each of the chilling stress application timings.


  • This demonstration proved very useful while training sales teams on early season diagnostics as well as late-season visuals on the risks of planting ahead of a cold front.
  • The demonstration showed that even though a stand can be established in adverse conditions, the effect on harvestable plants and yield is something that should be considered as well.

¹ All Pioneer products are hybrids unless designated with AM1, AM, AMRW, AMX and AMXT, in which case they are brands.

2014 data are based on average of all comparisons made in one locations through Dec 1, 2014. Multi-year and multi-location is a better predictor of future performance. Do not use these or any other data from a limited number of trials as a significant factor in product selection. The foregoing is provided for informational use only. Please contact your Pioneer sales professional for information and suggestions specific to your operation. Product performance is variable and depends on many factors such as moisture and heat stress, soil type, management practices and environmental stress as well as disease and pest pressures. Individual results may vary.

Product performance in water-limited environments is variable and depends on many factors such as the severity and timing of moisture deficiency, heat stress, soil type, management practices and environmental stress, as well as disease and pest pressures. All hybrids may exhibit reduced yield under water and heat stress. Individual results may vary.
AM - Optimum® AcreMax® Insect Protection system with YGCB, HX1, LL, RR2. Contains a single-bag integrated refuge solution for above-ground insects. In EPA-designated cotton growing counties, a 20% separate refuge must be planted with Optimum AcreMax products.
HX1 – Contains the Herculex® I Insect Protection gene which provides protection against European corn borer, southwestern corn borer, black cutworm, fall armyworm, lesser corn stalk borer, southern corn stalk borer, and sugarcane borer; and suppresses corn earworm. Herculex® I Insect Protection technology by Dow AgroSciences and Pioneer Hi-Bred. Herculex® and the HX logo are registered trademarks of Dow AgroSciences LLC.
LL - Contains the LibertyLink® gene for resistance to Liberty® herbicide.
Liberty®, LibertyLink® and the Water Droplet Design are trademarks of Bayer.
® YieldGard and the YieldGard Corn Borer design are registered trademarks used under license from Monsanto Company.
RR2 - Contains the Roundup Ready® Corn 2 trait that provides safety for over-the-top applications of labeled glyphosate herbicides when applied to label directions.
Roundup Ready® is a registered trademark used under license from Monsanto Company.

PIONEER® brand products are provided subject to the terms and conditions of purchase which are part of the labeling and purchase documents.