|Letís start where we left off the other day.
These two kernels are about 12 days old. Do you notice anything different
about them compared to the 10 day old kernels? They arenít skinny! So,
do you think thereís anything inside them now? Letís take a look.
|Well, you were right! Thereís more of that
watery liquid and as you can see from the kernel on the left, more of the
white, starchy material. Thatís the reason these kernels are more plump
than the kernels that are a couple days younger. (If you want to answer a
trick question, click here.) This
is called the watery-ripe stage and it lasts several days.
So, a developing wheat kernel is like building a house (NOTE: it helps if you use your imagination at this point!). When you first start building a house you canít really tell what itís going to look like (thatís the same for a kernel). After the walls and roof are in place and you know what it looks like, the furniture can be moved in. For a wheat kernel it takes about 10 days for it to reach full size and then the "furniture" (starch and proteins) can be moved in. Thatís when it starts getting plump.
We are now in the grain-filling period of the wheat plant. This is a very important time because this is when grain yield is determined and any stresses, such as, diseases, heat, or drought, could cause yield losses.