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By Rady Ananda

The AP reports that a Kentucky farmer noticed his corn popped on the stalk in the field. Though AP ridiculously suggests this is a result of drought and high heat, this has got to be a first in agriculture. Spotty news reports never discuss whether or not the corn is contaminated with transgenes, but that would be a more reasonable explanation.

The Associated Press reports:

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (AP) — A Hardin County farmer said that some ears among his feed corn rows popped on the stalk in a phenomenon that agricultural experts believe 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.

But one commenter on a local news site noted:

“Corn pops when the water inside vaporizes, turning into steam, creating a massive increase in pressure beyond what the hard shell around the kernel can contain. (The mechanism for popping is actually more complicated than this, but for the sake of argument, this is close enough.) This means the inside of the kernel would have to be heated to a MINIMUM of 212F (the boiling point of water).”

So, high field temperatures cannot explain this. Clearly, the temperature did not reach 212 degrees in the cornfield. But University of Kentucky Extension Agent Dr. Chad Lee seems to have forgotten basic water physics. “It was that hot,” Dr. Lee told WKYT.

Kari Hall at WKYT explains that “At this time in the season, rain is not needed. The corn stalks have to dry in the fields before [being] harvested.”

So, drought cannot cause corn to pop.

Inquiring minds want to know if these crops contain transgenes.