Corn Ears

I have found it interesting that the National Agricultural Statistics Service for the state of Illinois has reported the late season corn stand counts are leveling off based on the 2008 to 2012 data.  The data for the state of Illinois shows the number of plants to be relatively constant at approximately 30,000 plants per acre.  However, for the period 2008 thru 2011, 97.3% of the reported plants had ears.  But in 2012, only 81.5% of the plants had ears.