“The storms have been localized, kind of like a shotgun blast in that some areas were getting rain but others weren’t,” Thomison said. “The violent winds associated with the storms have also caused root lodging in some plants and green snap in others, with breakage below the ears, creating plants that won’t produce grain.

“These storms have come with a cost: hail and wind damage. You’ve got a lot of farmers who are keeping their fingers crossed right now.”

Growers who want to check the success or failure of pollination can simply wait until the developing kernels appear as watery blisters, which usually occur some 10 days after fertilization.

But for growers who’d rather have a faster determination, an ear shake test can determine results quicker, Thomison said.

How the test works:

• Each potential kernel on the ear has a silk attached to it. Once a pollen grain "lands" on an individual silk, it quickly germinates and produces a pollen tube that grows the length of the silk to fertilize the ovule in 12 to 28 hours.

• Within 1 to 3 days after a silk is pollinated and fertilization of the ovule is successful, the silk will detach from the developing kernel. Unfertilized ovules will still have attached silks.

• Silks turn brown and dry up after the fertilization process occurs. By carefully unwrapping the husk leaves from an ear and then gently shaking the ear, the silks from the fertilized ovules will readily drop off.

• Keep in mind that silks can remain receptive to pollen up to 10 days after emergence.

• The proportion of fertilized ovules (future kernels) on an ear can be deduced by the proportion of silks dropping off the ear. Sampling several ears at random throughout a field will provide an indication of the progress of pollination.

• Unpollinated silks continue to elongate for about 10 days after they emerge from the ear husks before they finally deteriorate rapidly.

• During this period, silks become less receptive to pollen germination as they age and the rate of kernel set success decreases.

• If you observe unusually long silks in drought stressed field it may be an indication of pollination failure.