The present invention relates to compositions and methods for modulating the juvenile to adult developmental growth transition in plants, such as grasses (e.g. maize). In particular, the invention provides methods for enhancing agronomic properties in plants by modulating expression of GRMZM2G362718, GRMZM2G096016, or homologs thereof. Modulation of expression of one or more additional genes which affect juvenile to adult developmental growth transition such as Glossy15 or Cg1, in conjunction with such modulation of expression is also contemplated. Nucleic acid constructs for down-regulation of GRMZM2G362718 and/or GRMZM2G096016 are also contemplated, as are transgenic plants and products produced there from, that demonstrate altered, such as extended juvenile growth, and display associated phenotypes such as enhanced yield, improved digestibility, and increased disease resistance. Plants described herein may be used, for example, as improved forage or feed crops or in biofuel production.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
 This invention was made with Government support under DE-FC02-07ER64494 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.