During the summer of 2003 several crop formations occurred in the U.S. and in Canada in corn (maize). Although there have been a number of such events in corn over the years (particularly in the U.S.), in recent years fieldworkers have documented increasingly intense damage to the plants. The plants in two specific formations in Canada in 2004, both in hybrid field corn, show a massive incidence of expulsion cavities (holes blown out at the plant stem nodes)--often occurring literally all the way down the plant stem. [Since the corn in these cases was 9-10 ft. tall many plants have 7-8 blown nodes in each stem.]
The cobs inside the formations were also observed to be significantly smaller than in the control plants elsewhere in the fields, with many of the flattened plants producing only one cob, or none at all.
Additionally, initial examination revealed that many of the corn stalks had snapped cleanly at the nodes--a situation that was found to exist in nearly all of the flattened crop. After sampling it was clear that the plants were so brittle that very light pressure caused all of the nodes on the flattened plants to snap similarly.
Certain hybrids, if the amount of rainfall is excessive during particular growth phases, are known to be subject to a condition known as "Brittle Snap," in which a few nodes near the top of the plant can break in this manner. However, Brittle Snap has never been seen to affect the nodes lower down the plants stem and certainly not the node lowest on the plant stem--as was observed repeatedly in the Canadian formations. Also, the variety of maize involved in these cases was not one known to be subject to this problem.
There were also multiple other abnormalities observed in these maize plants which seem to indicate a definite increase in the intensity of the energies involved in the crop formation process. In an effort to learn more about the effects on the plants BLT consultants, in conjunction with a CCCRN field team, have begun a growth study using seeds from one of the most affected of these Canadian formations. At the completion of the study results will be presented by BLT Research and CCCRN and will be available on both web-sites.
|MYCORRHIZAL FUNGI STUDY:|
A University of California, Davis mycologist/soil chemist has suggested a study to determine whether differences occur in the presence/absence of mycorrhizal fungi, % of infection, and/or differences in internal root structures in plants from within crop circles as opposed to those outside. In additon to answering these questions, this study will look for significant differences in arbuscular mycorrhizal spore abundance and variety within the circle soils, as compared to the controls.
Roots & soils from a number of crop formations will be collected this summer and examined at the University of California. Physical and chemical analyses of the soils may also be carried out, depending on funding/time constraints.
The results will be posted on the BLT web-site when the research is completed.